No surprise, but Thanksgiving has come and gone and we still have no Farm Bill compromise. In fact, some reports indicate that the two chambers are even farther from reaching an agreement than ever before.
That means, come January 1, 2014, the current Farm Bill law will expire and the law will revert back to the 1949 version. And that might be a big problem if you’re a milk lover (of which, I myself am one).
That’s because the 1949 version of the Farm Bill mandated how much money the government had to pay for milk. It goes like this: when a farmer sells milk to a government entity, they are required to pay a certain price, which is higher than the current market price for milk. If more farmers sell to the government (to realize higher profits), there will be less milk supply in the private sector and prices could jump upward toward $7 or $8 a gallon.
With the re-introduction of the old Farm Bill, rules would have to be written and passed by the USDA to implement it. However, Secretary Vilasck has indicated it wouldn’t take that long because his department has been prepared.
However, some farmers aren’t concerned that this is going to occur. Currently, milk producers are paid a minimum amount according to the federal milk order, which pays the farmers per every hundred pounds of milk. That index doesn’t change over night. Not to mention, the demand for milk priced that high might drop, and then so would the price.
Even worse? Organic milk doesn’t fall under this law, which means the prices won’t be affected. One can imagine a scenario that consumers would turn to organic milk instead to avoid the prices. Well, I won’t, but some might.
Speak Boehner has stated that the House’s session will end on December 13, 2013 for the year. That means, if there is going to be a Farm Bill, it has to happen this week. There has been some discussion of extensions of the current bill for a month or two until it can be figured out, but that seems less and less likely given how long this drama has already continued.
Whether the so-called dairy cliff is real or not, it sure would be nice if Congress could work together and pass a bill.