Scott Marks 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5
The Starting Line(ish): Got Milk? Got $8 for a Gallon?
Farm bill impasse in Congress could cause prices of dairy products to skyrocket; the do-nothingest Congress in history; San Diego poised to lose state funding for construction projects; Issa’s witch hunts to continue; Obama thriftiest president since Eisenhower
Prices for a gallon of milk stand to rise from a current average of around $3.65 to $6 to $8 per gallon, according to a report in the NY Times. That’s because of an impasse in Congress (of course) that is stalling the passage of a new farm bill. The Senate has already passed its version of the bill last July. The House has yet to bring its own version to the floor.
Without a new farm bill, according to the report, the government would be forced to follow a farm law enacted in 1949 that would require the federal government to purchase milk at prices that would be determined by production costs…..from 1949. Adjusted for inflation and other factors, that would amount to more than double the current price. Keep in mind that production costs 60 years ago were a lot higher because milk production was done almost exclusively by hand.
If Congress fails to act (which is likely…..more on that later), then dairy companies would be forced to look for alternative sources for their milk, such as importing it from New Zealand.
“Congress needs to pass a comprehensive farm bill that helps farmers continue to feed the world, keeps food prices affordable and provides farmers some financial stability in the very unpredictable profession of farming,” said Rebecca Lentz, a spokeswoman for Land-o-Lakes, a dairy company based in Minnesota.
“This is a totally antiquated law that has nothing to do with farming conditions today,” Montana State University agriculture professor Vincent Smith told the Times. “It was put in as a poison pill to get Congress to pass a farm bill by scaring lawmakers with the prospect of higher support prices for milk and other agriculture products. Letting it go into effect for even a few months would be particularly disastrous for consumers and food processors.”