Price of milk could rise if farm bill not passed

by: Holly Maynard Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There's another "cliff" lawmakers are worried about. They're calling it the "dairy cliff," and it could impact the price of milk dramatically.

Lawmakers have been so focused on the "fiscal cliff" that some say it's unlikely lawmakers will tackle the country's farm bill in time to avoid huge spikes in prices; even a doubling of prices.

It's news that doesn't sit well with many families, including the Davis family, which was enjoying some ice cream at Cabarrus Creamery on Friday. They're big milk-drinkers, too.

"If you need milk, you need milk, and you're going to do what you have to do. There's probably going to be some other things that aren't going to be purchased," Becky Davis said.

Hunter Huss is concerned that those other things will include trips to the ice cream shop. He owns Cabarrus Creamery.

"We're in never-never land. I don't like it," Huss said.

Huss said one-third of his budget goes toward the cost of milk. The average ice cream cone costs about $3, and he's afraid that if the cost of milk goes up dramatically, he may have to raise that price by $2 or $3 just to survive.

"We don't know how far we're going to have to go," he said.

If lawmakers don't pass the farm bill by Jan. 1, many say lawmakers could send the country's agriculture policy back to a law from the 1940s, which would push prices higher.

However, at least one agricultural economist doesn't believe prices will go that high.

"If it causes a lot of problems, I'm sure congressmen will hear about it, and they'll fix it.

Agriculture usually gets their way in these things," said Michael Roberts.