TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam warned Congress that if they don’t approve a farm bill the nation’s food supply will be at serious risk.

Putnam, a former high-ranking Republican member of the U.S. House, wrote an opinion piece in The Hill Monday in which he stated, “Despite the critical importance of agriculture to our society and the industry’s contributions to our economy, Congress has failed to support the industry that provides our nation’s food supply. Because of Congressional inertia on the farm bill, the abundance, safety and affordability of our nation’s food supply is at serious risk.”

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The farm bill, which provides price supports for farms and food basics for the poor, has become tied up in an ideological battle over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

Putnam’s letter doesn’t get into the SNAP issue. However, Putnam wrote that delaying the bill will impact decisions on what foods are produced and the quality and quantity of food that reaches store shelves.

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“Two million American farms work day in and day out, all year long to produce the food and fiber we have grown to depend on. They work to ensure that there is a variety of fresh, wholesome, products in grocery stores, at restaurants and on dining tables,” Putnam said. “Furthermore, the farm bill supports disaster assistance programs, safeguards public health and protects our natural resources.”

Government analysts have predicted that a failure to pass the farm bill could force milk prices as high as $7 a gallon.

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“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”