'Dairy cliff', not just fiscal cliff, concerns consumers

11:59 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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Dairy prices could double in the next couple of weeks if Congress does not take action.

While all the attention is on the fiscal cliff lately, another pressing issue Congress needs to resolve before the end of the year is getting overlooked.

Milk prices could double if Congress doesn't act on the Federal Farm Bill.

Within the farm bill is a subsidy for dairy, set to expire January 1st.  If that happens, price policy would go back to antiquated, 1949 laws, which would make the cost of milk go up based on inflation. 

Experts say families can't afford the price hike, and farmers can't either. The average price of a gallon of milk this December is $3.65.  Doubling that would bring the price between $7 and $8 a gallon.

"If dairy prices rise too fast to a higher level that folks can't afford, there's so many alternatives in the market place, from power and nutrition drinks to sodas and water. People will switch," said Dave Drennan with the Missouri Dairy Association.

Congress still could come up with new legislation for the Department of Agriculture, but will that happen before they resolve the fiscal cliff?  That is the unknown.


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