Looming Dairy Cliff
WASHINGTON, DC –contributed….U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) Friday stressed the importance of moving forward on a fix to avoid going over the Dairy Cliff on December 31. Recent reports indicated that House leadership will not take up a Farm Bill before the end of the 112th Congress. “Failing to take up a Farm Bill will take us back to the outdated agriculture policies of 1949,” said Rep. Kind. “This would devastate the dairy market and unnecessarily burden consumers who would bear the brunt of higher prices. “ When Congress passes a five-year Farm Bill, they include a provision to suspend what is known as “permanent law”— policies that date back to the 1930s and 1940s. Without Congressional action yet this year, the nation’s agricultural policy would revert back to price controls from more than 60 years ago. At that time, the government used a complex formula to set milk prices for farmers based on the cost of their inputs. If a Farm Bill is not addressed in the next 10 days, USDA would be required to implement these antiquated price controls and the government would have to start buying dairy products at nearly double recent market prices to drive up the price of milk to cover dairy producers’ costs. Retailers and other businesses would have to pay more than the government rate to buy dairy products. The cost of milk and other dairy products would then skyrocket for consumers and businesses.
“We have had more than enough time to take up a Farm Bill,” said Kind. “And even if we can’t pass the next Farm Bill to fully address our outdated farm policies, we must move forward with a short-term extension to address the impending dairy cliff. “
“Reverting back to 60-year-old policies will cost taxpayers as much as $15 billion over the next year and would be disastrous for the dairy industry. Our farmers deserve policies that provide them with the certainty they need in planning their operations. It’s our responsibility to take a real look at our farm programs, reform what is not working and pass a food and farm bill that works for the 21st century.”
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