Meeting the need for food in Texas

Meeting the need for food in Texas

Amarillo, TX - State lawmakers are searching for a way to help alleviate hunger in Texas, especially in rural areas. Texas has the second highest rate of people in the U.S. who have trouble getting enough food to eat.

"We're seeing that over 60 percent now of our total food distribution on a monthly basis goes to our rural areas," High Food Plains Bank executive director, Zack Wilson, said. "This is the first time this has happened in a very long time, if even ever."

State officials are calling some areas a "food desert," their population is shrinking and so are their food sources.

"Population starts drying up, businesses leave," Wilson explained. "Then, of course, we're in the middle of a drought."

Now, state lawmakers are searching for more answers to the problem. To help meet the need for small communities, they are considering having fewer restrictions on farm products.

"Producers of all different sizes have to comply with different standards and restrictions," State Representative Four Price explained. "I guess on that smaller scale of what was advocated at the hearings were a loosening of some of those restrictions so they would be able to more easily produce and mass market some of their products."

Lawmakers hope this will be a win, win situation for residents, hunters and farmers, making for quicker access to food and a quicker way to sell their products.

"The restrictions on feral hog meat or venison from hunters are going to be reviewed to see if there's a way to ease up restrictions on that in a safe way so there can be more food provided to food banks, for instance," Price said.

Texas lawmakers are also pushing to change nutrition standards when it comes to the SNAPS program. They want to see tax dollars pay for more filling food products and not junk food.

In Texas, around 500 million dollars is spent every month in food assistance. Texas lawmakers would like to see it spent towards more nutritional food, rather than things like candy and soda.