The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 29, 2012

Lethargy in Capitol may spike milk costs

Prices could hit $8 per gallon if elected officials fail constituents

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— By Rick Dandes

The Daily Item

SUNBURY — If the same 112th Congress that has refused to reach an agreement to avert a recession-risking fiscal cliff does not also pass by Tuesday a new Farm Bill, milk prices in the Valley could soon skyrocket to $8 a gallon and, a Watsonstown resident says, “destroy” the dairy industry.

Valley farmers are angry that elected officials have ignored approving a new Farm Bill, which expired in September. Valley dietitians are worried about children not receiving needed Vitamin D.

If Congress fails to pass a Farm Bill, by law the U.S. Agriculture Department would be forced to revert to a 1940s-era policy that, with inflation adjustments, could result in consumers paying up to $8 for a gallon of milk.

“If that were to happen,” said Gary Truckenmiller, owner of Dry Run Dairy Farm, of Watsontown, “it could destroy the milk industry. That price is excessive. People would find alternative drinks.”

Little noticed in the struggle over tax increases and spending cuts — the crux of the fiscal cliff — is how that outcome could affect the Farm Bill.