A nutrition education program aimed at West Virginia's low-income families could wind up on the chopping block, depending on how negotiations in Washington play out.
The SNAP-Ed program provides nutrition education services to families receiving assistance through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.
The program's funding was cut by 28 percent in 2013 as a result of federal budget negotiations.
And while West Virginia's SNAP-Ed was expecting $3.3 million in federal funding for the 2014 fiscal year, it only will receive $985,000 until Congress passes a long-term funding bill.
There's no guarantee the program will survive the budgeting process fully funded, however.
"Maybe we'll make that up through the rest of 2014, but that is less money than we had budgeted for," said Cindy Fitch, West Virginia's SNAP-Ed program director. "No one knows what Congress will do."
Members of Congress, who have so far failed to agree on a 2014 budget, managed last month to pass a continuing resolution funding the federal government through January. Budget talks are set to begin soon, and it's difficult to tell which programs might face cuts.
But there's plenty of reason to believe federal lawmakers -- at least those in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives -- might seek to cut funding to SNAP-Ed.
The program's budget was already sliced by 28 percent But the House's recently passed version of the farm bill would cut an additional $26 million to SNAP-Ed, as part of a larger $40 billion SNAP cut.
The Democrat-controlled Senate's version of the bill did not include those cuts. Members of both chambers began meetings last week to hash out a compromise bill.
And even if lawmakers come to an agreement on the farm bill, Congress will soon begin discussions on next year's budget. SNAP-Ed could again find itself on the chopping block.
As the name suggests, SNAP-Ed provides people with education on nutrition.
"It teaches SNAP families how to buy and prepare healthy food...and stretch their food dollar and get to the end of the month without running out of food," said Amy Gannon, a Charleston dietician who works with the program through West Virginia University's Extension Service.