When the Trump administration slashes food assistance for hundreds of thousands of people, with changes going into effect in April 2020, it won’t just leave those people hungry. It could also have a devastating effect on rural economies, Mother Jones’ Nathalie Baptiste reports.
Rural counties will be hit hard by the Trump food stamp cuts: 136 of the 150 counties with the highest Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation rates are rural, including 48 of the top 50.
Many rural communities depend on small grocery stores, and those small grocery stores often depend on SNAP business. The $177 a month the USDA estimates these grocery stores will lose could be a significant blow to their survival. SNAP business can be as much at 40% of the profits at small grocery stores in rural Alaska, according to one report, and “SNAP users help grocery stores’ bottom line,” the director of Kansas State University’s Rural Grocery Initiative, David Procter, told Mother Jones.
But if the local grocery store goes out of business, it’s not just shoppers on food assistance who lose a source of food—everyone does, while the store workers lose their jobs, distributors and utilities lose a customer, and more disruption occurs in a ripple effect through a community. The Trump administration wants to hurt poor people, and it’s found a way to do so. But it’s going to be hurting many communities in Trump’s own base to get that done.