Dairy Farmers Worry About Fiscal Cliff

With only a few legislative days left until Congress adjourns for the year, dairy farmers are nervously looking at the calendar as they wait for Congress to take action on the upcoming fiscal cliff.

For the past several months, Congress has been stalled on the 2012 Farm Bill, with the House refusing to hold a vote on the Senate farm bill or the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill draft. While the House spent the summer and the fall delaying a farm bill vote (claiming that they did not have the votes), Congress’ attention now appears focused on the fiscal cliff.

However, Congress’ inability to pass a budget and their failure to pass new farm legislation may leave American farmers in a bind come 2013. While many farm programs will remain funded throughout the first few months of 2013, dairy farmers may face the elimination of major price controls, putting their operations in jeopardy.

If antiquated pricing structures go into place, the government may guarantee double the current milk prices. While this may prove a temporary boon to farmers, who may make some extra money selling to the government, these new prices could make milk prices skyrocket and could then lead to a major price fall as the government sold off milk surpluses. While dairy farmers are still hopeful that a new farm bill will be passed, it appears increasingly unlikely as December winds down.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer