How about paying $8 for a gallon of milk? That’s the cost shoppers could face if Congress can’t agree on a farm bill. And it’s not just the consumers. Without a deal by the end of the year, farmers could also fall off the so-called “dairy cliff.”
Alfred Wanner’s family has produced milk at Wanner’s Pride-n-Joy Farm since the 1920′s. He produces 6,000 gallons of milk a day. It’s a job he takes seriously. But the way he makes a living is in jeopardy if congress can’t agree on a farm bill.
Wanner says, “The farm bill gives a base of how things are going to be conducted, you might say the rules.”
Without a new bill, farm policy would fall back to a 1949 bill that mandated higher prices be paid by the government to dairy producers. And shoppers would probably need to spend a lot more money for milk.
Shopper, Annie Carmitchell says, “I would not buy it. If it went up to $6 to $8, that’s ridiculous. I would switch to almond or soy milk.”
Shopper, Lois Hernley says, “It’s just not feasible to purchase that in my budget. I can’t afford to by that at that price.”
U.S. Senator Bob Casey sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He says concerns about rising milk prices are premature. He says, “The Secretary of Agriculture has assured us that he will allow some time to go forward to get a farm bill done and I think we can get it done in early part of January and finally reach the point where the House and Senate are together.”
For farmers like Wanner, an agreement in Washington would allow them to work at ease.
Senator Casey says the Farm Bill also allows farmers to keep their cost of production lower, so they can make a profit. In addition to milk prices, the Farm Bill finances food stamps. Republicans are pushing for up to $40 billion in food stamp cuts over the next decade and Democrats are open to $4 billion in reductions.