If you’re a parent of kids of any age you likely go through several gallons of milk a week.
Whether it’s filling the bottles of toddlers or the older set scarfing down bowl after bowl of cereal, milk is a staple in most homes. That’s why the possibility of it doubling in cost in the new year is so heart-stopping.
At more than $4 a gallon, milk already seems ridiculously expensive to me so when I read that it could skyrocket to as much as $8 a gallon I immediately started running the numbers. My conclusion: YIKES. And it isn’t just milk of course, it’s anything containing milk that will increase in cost.
But the possibility is looming. Here’s why. Lawmakers working to avoid the “fiscal cliff” aren’t focusing on a farm bill that would avoid the cost increase.
CNN successfully breaks all the high falutin’ political talk thusly:
“In order to keep dairy farmers in businesses, the government agrees to buy milk and other products if the price gets too low. The current agriculture bill has a formula that means the government steps in if the price of milk were to drop by roughly half from its current national average of about $3.65 a gallon. Problem is, the current bill expired last summer, and Congress had been unable to agree on a new one. Several protections for farmers have already expired, and several more are set to do so over the next few months. One of them is the dairy subsidy, which expires January 1.”
So, if a new law isn’t passed or the current one extended, the cost the government pays for the dairy reverts back to an old law from 1949, forcing the government to buy milk at twice today’s cost, which, in turn, would force us to pay that much.
But with Washington’s attention on the “fiscal cliff,” farmers have been left int he lurch while waiting for decisions about next year’s crops. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack conceded that after trying to get the House and Senate Agriculture Committees together to work out a new five-year plan, the chances of a bill being passed by January 1 are slim.
According to USA Today, Vilsack says we need a farm bill, like, yesterday. “The reality is that there is a very serious risk that we might not get a farm bill done this year. The uncertainty of not knowing what the policies are going to be will create difficulties. We need a farm bill and we need it now.”
There are still a couple options on the table. One hope is that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, slips some farm legislation into the “fiscal cliff” package. Perhaps a one year extension to the old 2008 bill could be passed to avoid immediate fallout
Vilsack isn’t hopeful.
“I know there are several scenarios floating about out there, but I wouldn’t bet money on any of them (i.e., I think any number of things are about equally probable),” he told . “Like most folks, I find it plausible that a farm bill gets attached to some last minute fiscal cliff solution, but it also seems that the kumbaya between the two Ag Committees has suffered lately, as [the Congressional Budget Office] is saying you can’t have all of the above. …From the outside anyway, it has become less clear what farm bill would get tacked on to a broader fiscal bill.”
Photo Credit: csmonitor.com
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.
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