By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s still no agreement in Congress on a new farm bill, and some fear a failure to act could trigger a huge jump in the price of milk.
Lawmakers are home for the Thanksgiving holiday and still divided on what the new farm bill should look like.
House Republicans are seeking cuts in the food stamp program; the Senate is looking for smaller reductions. Although both sides do agree on ending direct subsidies to farmers and, instead, helping them pay for crop insurance.
If the chambers can’t resolve differences by January, regulations from 1949 that are still on the books could cause the price of milk to double – going up to $7 or even $8 a gallon.
But Mark O’Neill, of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, says it’s an unlikely scenario:
“I’m not sure anyone in the House or the Senate or at USDA wants to be responsible for the public anger blaming them for increasing milk prices so dramatically.”
O’Neill says if they can’t come to terms, lawmakers could simply decide to extend provisions of the farm bill for another year as they did last year.