Farm Bill, Policy Issues
Sean Lengell reported last week at The Washington Times Online that, “A multiyear farm bill that has stalled in Congress could be part of a solution to avoid the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ — if party leaders decide they need its spending cuts to count toward an overall deficit reduction package.”
The article noted that, “Some agriculture programs, such as crop insurance, have continued under a separate authorization. And funding for the food stamp program was included in a six-month stopgap bill to fund the federal government that Congress passed in September.
“But some dairy farmers say they’re already feeling a pinch, as the Department of Agriculture’s Milk Income Loss Contract Program, which compensates dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified level, expired after Sept. 30.”
More specifically, J.T. Rushing reported on Friday at The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Online that, “As if the ‘fiscal cliff’ and the long-suffering farm bill weren’t enough, Iowans may soon face a new dilemma — a ‘dairy cliff.’
“If Congress fails to act in the handful of weeks it has left in its lame-duck session before adjourning for Christmas recess, the nation’s dairy programs for farmers will expire Jan. 1.
“The effects won’t be limited to the dairy industry — retail prices for all sorts of dairy-related products could soar. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has predicted the price of milk could rise to $6 a gallon, just as almost all Americans’ income taxes are scheduled to increase.”