Lawmakers Agree to Avert Milk Cliff—If They Have Time

But don't worry, slow USDA might make it a moot point

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 31, 2012 8:28 AM CST

(Newser) – In a desperate bid to avoid the dreaded "milk cliff," House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have agreed to just extend the 2008 farm bill for another year—assuming they can get around to doing so. Given the drama surrounding that other cliff, House Republican leaders tell CBS that the bill might not make it to the floor by midnight. The extension also includes drought aid for farmers, and milk policy changes. Without a deal, we'll revert to a 1949 law, sending milk prices to $6 to $8 a gallon.

"Clearly, it is no longer possible to enact a five-year farm bill in this Congress," said the chair of the House committee, calling the extension "the responsible thing to do." It was one of three potential farm bills released this weekend, including a 30-day extension dismissed by one Democrat as "a poor joke on farmers." Of course, even if legislators fail to vote, it would take a while for the USDA to implement the old law, Bloomberg points out, so prices won't spike overnight.

With the store shelves thinning out, Christie Wilson, Sebree, grabs a gallon of milk, Dec. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/The Gleaner, Mike Lawrence)
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