As Congress tries to find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff – farm groups are asking that they also provide a new farm bill.
While many farmers are still covered by crop insurance and other programs until next planting season – the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill left dairy farmers without a safety net in place if milk prices fall.
With the price of feed soaring – many feel they’re facing their own cliff. Dairy farmers are price takers – not price makers.
A minimum price for milk is set by the federal government – but that price hasn’t been keeping pace with increased prices for feed or energy. The Milk Income Loss Contract program helped – paying farmers when the milk price dropped too low or feed prices went too high.
Chris Galen with National Milk Producers Federation says the new farm bill includes a voluntary insurance program that would replace MILC. He says it would be better for dairy farms of all sizes.
He adds that without a new farm bill – or an extension of the old one – we will revert to a 1949 law that would almost double the price of milk. Experts say customers could pay six to eight-dollars for a gallon of milk.