'Dairy Cliff' May Raise Milk Prices

By Michelle Costanza

December 14, 2012 Updated Dec 14, 2012 at 7:22 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) While the dairy industry has already felt negative impacts from the lack of a Farm Bill, people's wallets may also soon be affected.

Over 5,400 New York dairy farms lost their security net when the 2008 Farm Bill was allowed to expire. And with months of little progress on a new bill passing, farmers are beginning to worry.

Without a Farm Bill in place, laws will revert back to 1948 farm and agriculture policies.

Under these laws, the government would be required to buy large amounts of milk and other dairy products at higher prices, which would ultimately raise prices for everyone.

New York Senator Charles Schumer says this will hurt not only the agricultural industry as a whole, but will also directly affect smaller farms and consumers.

"You could get $6 per gallon milk. And you say, well this is great for our dairy farmers, but they don't want it either because if milk is that expensive people are going to start using alternates, and their [dairy farmers'] whole market plans are disrupted," said Schumer.

The Senator said this impending "dairy cliff" is avoidable if a new law is passed by the end of the year.

The new Farm Bill has been approved in the Senate with a large bipartisan majority, and it is now up to the House of Representatives to sign it before time runs out.