Topeka — Federal and state officials Thursday spoke out against proposed cuts to the nation's food stamp program.
Eric Bost, undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said, "We don't believe it should be reduced, and we have said so to both houses of Congress."
Bost was in Kansas to give state officials $861,132 for improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of the food stamp program in Kansas.
Bost said of the 25 million people in the country who were helped by food stamps, half of them were children, and the vast majority of the adults were low-income workers.
"The food stamp program is there to meet nutritional needs," he said.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius echoed Bost's comments and urged Congress to reject recent proposals to cut food stamps.
She said the program is a "win-win" in Kansas, helping people who need food, and helping farmers to sell their products. Approximately 175,000 people in Kansas receive food stamps.
A cut would mean "fewer farm products would be bought, and fewer people would be fed," Sebelius said.
The program has also gained attention in recent days as thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina have needed assistance.
"I can't imagine a worse time," to consider cuts, Sebelius said.
Advocacy groups also are lobbying Congress to keep food stamp funding intact, including the Kansas Rural Center, National Catholic Rural Life Conference and Mennonite Central Committee Central States.