Your Wallets Could Be Milked if Farm Bill Agreement Not Reached

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

Harrisonburg, Va. (WHSV) Grocery stores could be milking your wallet soon. If Congress fails to come to an agreement by Jan. 1, 2014, milk could get a lot more expensive.

"It does supplement a little bit, in order to help us keep feed in the bin for the cows and that kind of thing," Vonda Driver, co-owner of Driver Daughter Dairy, said regarding the farm bill.

"It was designed so that farmers could get a fair price for their milk back in 1949, so with inflation and everything, that price would get a lot higher," said Eric Paulson, executive secretary of the Virginia State Dairymen's Association.

Right now, one of the most debated parts of the farm bill holding up a deal is food stamps, something dividing the House and the Senate.

Driver said living month to month with uncertainty is the hard part for her.

"Farmers have a very hard time budgeting, because we never quite know what we're going to get paid next month. A lot of times, we can't pay the bills," said Driver.

She wishes food stamps and agriculture were not on the same bill.

"What they do with the farmers should be be totally separate from food stamps; then we wouldn't have this," said Driver.

According to the Secretary of Agriculture, the price of milk could nearly double if an agreement is not reached, something Driver said would not be good for her business. Today, we paid a little more than $4 per gallon for a gallon of 2 percent milk.

"If your milk is $7 or $8 a gallon, that's going to make you think twice about buying a gallon of milk," said Paulson.

"So if we're selling less, it will end up making the price of milk go down even further for me, as far as my pay price," said Driver.

One concern is that the demand for dairy-free substitutes will compete with milk if the prices spike. The price of corn, wheat and soybeans could also go up if a farm bill is not passed soon.

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