WASHINGTON — As part of passing “fiscal cliff” legislation on New Year’s night, Congress OK’d a clean extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, averting an automatic fallback to a 1949 dairy price support program that would have resulted in significant hikes in milk and dairy product prices.
The extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, valid through September 2013, is a stop-gap measure until a new Farm Bill is passed, said Christopher Galen, senior vice president, communications, at Arlington, Va.-based National Milk Producers Federation, which represents the nation’s dairy farmers.
“The extension of the 2008 Farm Bill will have no immediate impact on retail milk or dairy product prices,” Galen told SN.
The 2008 Farm Bill’s price support section was set to expire Dec. 31, and the consumer media had warned that if Congress didn’t take some action — either extend the 2008 Farm Bill or pass a new Farm Bill — automatic reversion to the 1949 dairy support program could push the retail price of a gallon of milk as high as $8.
While price increases were averted, Galen said NMPF had wanted a bill that included the Dairy Security Act, which would give dairy farmers opportunity to sign up for government payments if market prices are not above a certain target level.
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