Farm Bill Hurts Local Food Aid

The delay of the 2007 farm bill is affecting more than just farmers. Food Agencies across the country are being hurt by the delay Congress is making. It's been 7 months and the only action from congress has been extension after extension. That's keeping more than 26 panhandle counties from getting the help they need.

Dwindling food supplies and empty shelves are becoming a common occurrence for the interfaith hunger project. Forcing volunteers to rely on other methods of feeding those in need. Katherine Camp with Catholic Family Services says they are looking for alternative ways to get food for their store. "We've been going to Ben & Keith's, Sams' and Walmart to get our meat. It's not so cheap as the food bank gives us for free"she said.  This is making it harder for food agencies to budget, "We're a nonprofit, we work on grants, fixed budget and work with certain amounts of money during certain periods. We'll have to budget more, She said.

Camp says one program affected is Catholic Family Services "Interfaith Hunger Project".  The project helps feed 180 clients monthly, but with the latest shortages limits the commodities clients can have. "We're having a lack of protein items like meat. Most of our clients are elderly. they really need the nutrition," Camp said

Wilson says the more that agencies wait the harder it is to budget and help the people in the community. "Every day the farm bill is not re-authorized is another day when we have the same amount of funding. It's a day where we don't get enough food for agencies that really need it,"Wilson said.

That is one of the many reasons High Plains Food Bank coordinator, Zack Wilson says he wants to see the farm bill passed. He said, "A new farm bill will trickle down. That'll give spending power for food banks".

Wilsons says the 9.5 billion dollar budget the farm bill gives food agencies the needed boost to fight inflation and changing economy. The bill is vital because the U.S.D.A provides things sych as frozen beef and poultry they rarely see donated.