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Texas Food Banks Urge Legislators to Increase Funding  for Surplus Ag Grant  

 Investments in produce rescue will help food banks meet growing need.  

TEXAS – The Feeding Texas network, made up of 21 food banks across the state, is calling on state  lawmakers to increase funding for the Surplus Agricultural Products Grant today.  

With the cost of groceries rising, many Texans are turning to food banks for support. The loss of the  increased pandemic SNAP benefits (known as “emergency allotments”) in March will lead to even  greater need, with all SNAP households experiencing a minimum reduction of $95 a month in SNAP  benefits. 

“Texans everywhere are struggling with the rising cost of food, and as a result, more Texans are seeking  emergency food from food banks,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “More investment in the  Surplus Ag Grant will help food banks meet the growing need in their communities.”  

“The East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) continues to see a record number of our neighbors needing help and  increasing the funding to the Surplus Ag Grant will be critical in providing enough resources to meet our  goal of providing 32 million nutritious meals by 2025,” said Dennis Cullinane, ETFB CEO. “During the  pandemic in fiscal year 2020, we served 91,500 households and 25 million meals. In fiscal year 2022, we  served 117,300 households and over 27 million meals.” 

Since 2001, the Surplus Ag Grant has supported a cost-effective strategy to fight hunger in Texas. The  program is a partnership between Feeding Texas and the Texas Department of Agriculture. 

Food banks use funding from the program to obtain fresh produce that is unsellable due to  imperfections or market conditions, and 100% of program funds go to farmers and transportation  providers to offset the cost of harvesting, storage, packaging, and freight. Farmers are eligible for a tax  deduction for their donation. 

“In addition to feeding hungry Texans, the funds provided through the Surplus Ag Grant offset losses for  Texas growers and mitigate the impact of food waste on the environment,” Cole said. “The program is a  win-win-win for Texas.”  

Texas economist Ray Perryman estimates that every $1 invested in the Surplus Ag program yields $3.27  in healthcare and education savings for Texas. 

“Smart policy choices and investments like the Surplus Ag Grant can help prevent hunger for today,  while boosting our state’s economic competitiveness and resilience over time,” Cole said. 


Feeding Texas leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Learn more at 

About the East Texas Food Bank 

Established in 1988, the East Texas Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief nonprofit in East Texas  covering 26 counties. ETFB provides over 27 million meals each year to 200 partner agencies and feeding  programs. Our mission is to fight hunger and feed hope in East Texas. For more information, visit

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