by Jordan W. Jones, Saied Toossi, and Leslie Hodges
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers 15 domestic food and nutrition assistance programs that together affect the lives of millions of people and account for roughly two-thirds of USDA’s annual budget. In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, USDA launched additional temporary programs and implemented numerous policy changes that expanded the scope and coverage of existing programs. Together, these initiatives contributed to higher spending on food and nutrition assistance programs in fiscal year (FY) 2021 (October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021), which amounted to a historical high of $182.5 billion. This report uses preliminary data from USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to examine program trends and policy changes in USDA’s largest U.S. food and nutrition assistance programs through FY 2021.
Errata: On July 14, 2022, the report summary title was updated to correct the fiscal year.
Keywords: Food and nutrition assistance programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), Farmers to Families Food Box Program, emergency allotments, food security, Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, economic conditions