The National Grange cheered the USDA's enhanced efforts to fight food stamp fraud.

The Grange reacted to the Aug. 9 announcement by Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, in which he said new measures allow the department to impose strict financial sanctions on retailers that defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Association Program (SNAP) and supply resources, such as databases, to states to ensure the benefits of the program go to the intended individuals.

"It is important that the USDA uphold their zero tolerance policy of SNAP fraud in order to ensure that the funds allocated to these programs go to those individuals who truly are in need," National Grange President Ed Luttrell said. "This is a major issue, not only for the Grange, but for all of America. This program supplements the monthly food budget of millions of families, so it is imperative those that administer the program make sure to cut fraud and waste so the correct people receive benefits they need."

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This announcement requires states complete certain tasks that ensure fraud and abuse are identified early and prevents ineligible people from participating in SNAP and other benefit programs.

In the Aug. 9 announcement, Concannon said, "These requirements will make us better at identifying potential fraud and abuse before it occurs, as well as help us hold bad actors even more accountable than in the past and discourage them from abusing the public's trust."

The Supplemental Nutrition Association Program (SNAP) is the largest of the USDA's 15 nutrition assistance programs. There are currently 46 million individuals participating in the program, up from the 28 million that were enrolled at the start of the recession in 2008.