'Dairy cliff' averted

Jan. 06, 2013 @ 04:53 PM

The fiscal cliff debate has the country worried for several reasons but one immediate concern was the possibility of paying $7 for a gallon of milk.
Although the country didn’t go over the “dairy cliff,” many residents had a plan if the farm bill were to expire and milk and other dairy product prices soared.
Kellie Saunders, 37, of High Point, said it would be another thing her family would have to deal with.
“We’d have to cut out something else that we don’t need,” she said. “It’s like when gas skyrocketed, we didn’t stop buying gas, we just had to adjust and stop traveling as much to get better gas mileage. We would’ve done the same thing with milk.”
In November 2011, the price of a gallon of whole milk was $3.56, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average price for a gallon of whole milk in November didn’t waver much from the previous year and cost $3.54.
“While I am relieved that the agreement reached prevents a spike in the price of dairy and other commodities, I am disappointed Congress has been unable to pass a multi-year reauthorization of the Food, Farm and Jobs bill to give rural America the long-term certainty they need and deserve,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a release.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said that negotiators had agreed to extend portions of the expired 2008 farm bill through September. She said that includes language keeping milk prices from rising, but excludes other provisions like energy and disaster aid for farmers.
Families may have to reconsider their dairy cliff plans if the Agriculture Committee and Congress do not come up with a new plan by the time the extension expires in September.
David Scrouch of High Point said it would be another obstacle his family would have to work around.
“Our family couldn’t have stopped buying milk altogether so we would’ve had to buy less of something else and watch how much we were using.”