Among the many considerations to avoiding the dreaded “fiscal cliff” is a 1949 farm law that could drive up the cost of milk to more than double its current prices.
Three bills were posted to the House clerk’s website, according to Politico that would drastically impact dairy farmers, already struggling due to the nation’s drought conditions. One is considered “narrower and more short-term,” while another “reflects an agreement between the leadership of the House and Senate agriculture committees on what amounts to full extension of current programs through the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30. New disaster assistance is included with a major revamp of the milk program to help producers better manage production levels and insure their margins at a time of high feed costs.”
The other bill of concern, reports Politico, “fills just two pages and appears confined to defusing the threatened spike in milk prices next month.” The Senate approved this bill in June, and the House Agriculture Committee upheld a similar bill in July. Then, all legislative processes suddenly stopped when, “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refused to bring the measure to the floor.”
House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) commented on the situation in a statement, urging Congress to take action on the bill he worked on, ” Clearly, it is no longer possible to enact a five-year farm bill in this Congress. Given this reality, the responsible thing to do—and the course of action I have long encouraged if a five-year bill was not possible—is to extend the 2008 legislation for one year,” Lucas said. “This provides certainty to our producers and critical disaster assistance to those affected by record drought conditions.”
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