Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

SNAP Legislative History - Early

1920s
  • Production surpluses aggravated unemployment and lack of consumer buying power
1933
  • Federal Surplus Relief Corporation (FSRC), a non-profit, non-capital corporation, formed to dispense commodities.
1935
  • FSRC changed to Food Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC) whose focus was on encouraging domestic consumption of surpluses rather than on unemployment. Funding through Section 32 of PL 74-320 (Agricultural Adjustment Act) established to encourage agricultural exports, domestic consumption of agricultural commodities, and reestablishment of farmers' purchasing power.
1937
  • Commodities purchased for FSCC using Section 32 funds allowed to be donated for relief purposes.
1938
  • FSCC distributing $54 million worth of food a year.
1939
  • Secretary of Agriculture cites problems with the commodity distribution program.
  • May 16: Experimental FSP began in Rochester, N.Y. Program expanded to 1,741 counties and 88 cities by August 1942. Four million people participating by May 1943. Participants spent an amount of money representing estimated normal food expenditures, for orange stamps and were given blue stamps, without cost, to buy designated surplus foods at retail establishments.
1941
  • May: Nutrition Council for Defense recommended extending FSP, justifying it as a "vital cog" in the National Defense Plan.
1943
  • March: Although half of the counties in the U.S. had a FSP, scandal and rumors of fraud and abuse, together with lower participation than in the direct distribution program, pressure from organized producers who insisted that their products be on the surplus list even if they were not to participants' advantage, decentralized administration with four administrators interpreting policy differently, and the fact that the program was never authorized by Congress, led to the demise of the program. Scarcity of surplus commodities also played a part in termination of the program in the Spring of 1943.
Page updated: February 24, 2022