Turkey photo op gets political over food aid

Gov. Mark Dayton gets close to a turkey during a state Capitol event with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. (Tim Pugmire/MPR News)

The annual Thanksgiving-week celebration of Minnesota’s nation-leading turkey industry also highlighted concerns about the lack of action by Congress on a new farm bill.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton hosted the event, which included an appearance by a 20-pound turkey from Badger, Minnesota. Representatives of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association presented an $11,500 donation to local food shelves. In accepting the gift, Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions said the lack of a farm bill agreement has made life precarious for the 500,000 Minnesotans who receive food stamps from the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“Luckily, we have a state that has been committed to finding ways to feed low income people, and we all work hard to move forward on those needs,” Moriarty said.

Proposed cuts to SNAP are a big sticking point for Congress. House Republicans want to trim food stamps by $39  million billion over the next decade. But Gov. Dayton warned that too many needy people would be harmed by a cut that big.

“The federal cuts are going to be beyond our capability and any state’s capability to absorb and to make up the difference,” Dayton said.

Dayton said he’s unsure if lawmakers in Washington will resolve their farm bill differences by the end of the year. However, the governor said he remains hopeful because three members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation (Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Collin Peterson, Rep. Tim Walz) are involved in the negotiations.

  • Michael Willemsen

    The Union of Concerned Scientists has a good take on the farm bill.
    As the United Nations reported: A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the
    world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.
    -Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production – Priority Products and Materials