SHARECOMMENTMORE

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Congress is looking at a bill that would see an extension on vital aid to farmers across the nation.

But some say the farm bill has become a 'food stamp bill,' and it's causing a political divide, the result of which may affect folks in South Carolina.

Each week, the Harvest Hope Food Bank feeds some 38,000 families in 20 counties, according to food bank CEO Denise Holland.

"We have kept that initial process of an emergency food pantry as a part of what we do in total service delivery to families that are experiencing crisis," Holland said.

But if the bill doesn't pass soon, Harvest Hope and other food banks may see the need for help increase. Congress is currently debating an extension on a farm bill which links billions of dollars in food stamps, known in South Carolina as SNAP.

"Any potential cuts to SNAP can bring on more people who need us who do not have enough food in order to sustain themselves," Holland said.

But it's not just SNAP benefits alone at risk.

"Farmers and food stamp recipients need some surety," said South Carolina Farm Bureau President David Winkles.

Winkles said if an agreement is not reached, everyday items like milk could skyrocket to two or three times current prices.

"Milk is the easiest to express because it's probably the most direct correlation," Winkles said, "but the consumer would be adversely affected by any dairy price."

The farm bill also includes crop insurance to help farmers turning up smaller yields.

Winkles said though the current version of the insurance written in the bill is something of little bearing on southeastern farmers due to the wide range of crops grown in the region, he admits there are also benefits.

"It's a more expensive program for us to work with," Winkles said. "The most important thing as far as farm bills go is that there is a safety net established."

Congress is expected to take up the bill when they return from break early next year.

SHARECOMMENTMORE