Sound research on Federal food assistance programs requires high-quality data. This report describes 10 potential data development initiatives, each of which holds promise for improving the quality or reducing the cost of data resources at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The initiatives were selected to reflect the research needs of all three of the largest Federal food assistance programs: the Food Stamp Program (FSP), the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The initiatives also were chosen to provide information for several types of research, especially the measurement of program impacts and the dynamics of program participation. The initiatives were developed by a consortium of research organizations, made up of The Urban Institute, Health Systems Research, Inc., and the Research Triangle Institute. In a second phase of this project, the consortium will produce a more detailed task list and cost estimate for three of the initiatives discussed in this report. If USDA chooses to pursue one or more of these initiatives, this second phase will provide a foundation for further development.
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