Milk Prices Could Double Early Next Year
As if there wasn’t enough worry about plunging over the edge, lawmakers in Washington also must address a possible “dairy cliff” before year’s end, unless they want consumers to pay $7 or more for a gallon of milk.
By December 31, Congress must adopt a new five-year farm bill that includes addressing milk subsidies because the current statute is expiring. If lawmakers don’t act, the government will be forced to operate under a 1949 dairy price subsidy that mandates the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase milk at inflated prices.
That could mean a doubling of milk prices in stores, from the current average of $3.60 to somewhere between $6 and $8 per gallon.
The major points of contention relating to the farm bill are how much to cut food stamps and how much to reduce crop subsidies for farmers. The Senate passed a new farm bill in June and the House Agriculture Committee did so in July, but the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has not allowed the bill to come up for a full vote.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to incorporate a new Farm Bill into the larger fiscal-cliff negotiations on the budget. Boehner has rejected this idea, saying he doesn’t want to complicate the negotiations any further.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
A Gallon Of Milk Could Cost $8 In 2013. Here’s Why. (by Suzy Khimm, Washington Post)
Milk Prices May Spike To $8 Per Gallon Without 'Dairy Cliff' Solution (by Ros Krasny, Reuters)
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