Expect milk shake-up on prices in absence of U.S. farm bill

There could be crying if milk spills over the “dairy cliff” looming just beyond the New Year.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania says it will depend on Congressional action — or lack thereof — on a farm bill.


The country’s food and agriculture policy is set every five years with a farm bill. This year is one of those years.

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Without it, one of the consequences would be a reversion to a 1949 law that will change the way milk prices are set. The result would be doubled milk prices, between $6 and $8 a gallon across Pennsylvania.

Casey says that would then depress the demand for milk, and hurt dairy farmers.

“It would be harmful across all sectors, so there’s really no winner if this happens,” he said. “And unfortunately, this is all dependent upon whether the House acts.”

A farm bill passed in the Senate in June.

Now it’s waiting on vote in the full U.S. House of Representatives.

Economists say milk prices wouldn’t spike immediately without a farm bill in 2013. But Casey says there’s still time for the chamber to pass the bill before the New Year.

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