Western Wisconsin (WEAU)- Milk prices could triple in January if a farm bill is not passed by congress by the end of the month. Time is ticking and democrats and republicans are still arguing over what a new farm bill would entail. If it doesn’t get approved, the nation will revert to a 1940’s policy that could be good for farmers, but bad for consumers.
Dairy farmer Darin Von Ruden from the Cashton area says milk prices would be in the $5 range if a new farm bill isn’t passed or the current one isn’t extended.
“The farm bill is done every 5 years so why they are waiting to the last minute doesn’t make sense,” said Von Ruden.
But Director of Dairy Policy Analysis and dairy expert Mark Stephenson from UW-Madison says waiting until crunch time is normal for congress.
“This is not unusual for us not to have passed a farm bill by the time the previous one had lapsed,” said Stephenson.
Congress has until December 31st. If a decision isn’t made by then the farm bill will revert to the 1949 farm bill and farmers would get a pay raise all around the nation.
Von Ruden is currently making $28 dollars a day for the milk from every two cows he has. If the nation ends up going back to the 1949 policy his pay would increase to $38 dollars per two cows. But he doesn’t see consumers going for that.
“As a producer I would love to be getting that 38-39 dollars a hundred weight, but in reality the consuming public cant handle the large increase in price they would have to pay,” said Von Ruden.
Stephenson believes an agreement will be made and passed quickly if the fiscal budget is passed.
“We seem to be having a little movement towards a solution to the fiscal cliff. There is a possibility the farm bill could be attached to that or shortly passed on its own afterwards,” said Stephenson.
If the NEW farm bill is passed by the end of the year Stephenson says consumers will not have to worry about any big changes to milk prices.