Dairy Cliff? How Congressional inaction could cause milk prices - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Dairy Cliff? How Congressional inaction could cause milk prices to rise

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You've likely heard (and will continue to hear about) the "fiscal cliff" -- the day in which a series of tax cuts will lapse and budget cuts will kick in that could push the nation back into another recession. 

But maybe you haven't heard about the "dairy cliff" and the impact it could have on your grocery bill.

The Agricultural Act of 1949 helps to set milk prices for the nation. According to the Associated Press, the act is superseded every time a new farm bill is passed, but if no new bill or extension is passed the old act goes back into effect.

The most recent farm bill expired in September, leaving the potential for milk prices to jump to $6 a gallon because the old act's rules would go into effect.

It's something South Carolina dairy farmers like Archie Felder are keeping an eye on as 2012 comes to an end.

"We want to get a fair price, but an overinflated price is not good for anybody," said Felder. "I think too much sometimes can be just as bad as not enough."

Felder thinks the holdup is the fact that the farm bill -- in its current form -- is mostly food subsidies for entitlement programs like food stamps.

Originally, it was a post-great depression measure aimed at protecting farmers and the country's food supply.

"I think that most people want to get away from government assistance to people and cut down on our food stamp program, our government assistance programs, and that's the holdup," said Felder.

Felder isn't optimistic a deal will be made before the end of the year --- and he doesn't know how much prices will go up, but he says you can plan on paying more.

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