USDA

photo of Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank
AKRON-CANTON REGIONAL FOOD BANK

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a food distribution program to help expedite the process of feeding hungry families in Ohio.

Dan Flowers is the CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

He said that prior to this approval, volunteers needed to conduct an intake process which involved exchanging paperwork with clients.

That has the potential to spread coronavirus to volunteers, many of whom are seniors.

Food stamp recipients in Ohio won’t need to worry about renewals for their benefits — at least not for the next few months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week issued a waiver to the state allowing an extension for select benefit recertifications and renewals.

Any Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients whose benefits are set to expire in March, April or May of 2020 won’t need to seek recertification until six months later.

Medicaid renewals are also suspended for 180 days. Recipients won’t lose coverage during that time.

A photo of Mustard Seed Market in Solon
GOOGLE EARTH

With CBD products rising in popularity and more farmers beginning to grow hemp, the USDA this week released its first set of proposed regulations for the hemp-derived oil.

One local retailer is welcoming that move.

CBD products were so popular at Mustard Seed Market, they couldn’t keep them in stock. The retailer  created an e-commerce platform to sell its own brand, Hemp Luxe.

a photo of a grocery store with a SNAP sign in the window
JONATHAN WEISS / SHUTTERSTOCK

Advocates for low-income Ohioans say they’re concerned about yet another change proposed at the federal level for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps. 

This change would allow the federal government to set the standard deduction for utility payments that people can subtract from their overall incomes to qualify for SNAP.  Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says states set that standard right now.

photo of farm field
Dan Konik / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s agriculture director asked the federal government to help the state’s farmers, many of whom have been unable to plant crops because of rainy weather.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda said she’s traveled the state and witnessed firsthand how record rainfall has devastated farmers. 

Photo of a flooded rail bridge
Joe Gunderman / WKSU

Farmers around Ohio are dealing with flooding after severe storms dumped heavy rains across much of the state. The National Weather Service says Ohio has seen an average of nearly 7 inches of rain over the past month, up from the typical monthly average of less than 5 inches. Some parts of the state have gotten as much as 10 inches.

Ohio Farm Bureau Spokesman Ty Higgins says this may just be the calm before the storm.