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      Food stamps in jeopardy as farm bill debate continues

      For many Georgians, filling their cabinets with food is a struggle causing almost 900,000 households statewide to rely on food stamps in 2012 to feed their families, but those items may become even harder to get as congress debates whether or not to include funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP in the upcoming farm bill.

      "I know it's a lot of homeless people out here that really, really don't have no jobs and they're not already hiring a lot of people so it really would affect a lot of people. It would affect me, said Jeronica Hawkins, who receives stamps but says she TMs working to get off of using them.

      "I'm disabled so I depend on food stamps. I don't get but a small amount each month but if they were to take that, that's like a week's worth of groceries for me, said Albany resident Steve Knight.

      By having to fill the gap made by the cuts, some say it would affect more than just those who receive the stamps directly. Albany City Commissioner Roger Marietta says with many local vendors, markets and farms, many more would also suffer from the lack of stamps.

      "Farmers benefit just as much as wholesale grocers, wholesale producers and retail grocers. All those groups benefit from food stamps and they don't want them cut," said Marietta.

      Commissioner Marietta adds he's confident the bill won't pass the senate without some sort of food stamp assistance, and residents say if it does stick around it wouldn't hurt to regulate it a little more.

      "I don't think they should just give them away to anybody, a person that's not trying to do something. They should give them to people who are actually trying to do something with themselves and get their life together instead of trying to live off food stamps forever, that's how I feel. I know I'm not going to have food stamps forever," said Hawkins.

      For now members will decide whether or not they want to go to Conference Committee to try and work out a compromise on the bill before it expires in September.

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