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Could Lack of Farm Bill Lead to Higher Milk Prices?

Dairy Prices are among those that could be affected in this week's farm bill negotiations in Washington, D.C.
There's a lot on the line as Congress starts negotiations on the $500 billion farm bill. Among them is the price we pay for a gallon of milk. Some fear a sharp increase early next year.

Milk. It does a body good. But, if it gets too expensive, it won't do anyone any good.

"In my opinion, it's more of a scare tactic," says John Kuegel, a McLean County farmer.

As congress starts farm bill negotiations this week, some fear the price of a gallon of milk could go as high as $8 next January. That's because Congress is haggling over cuts to the food stamp program. Kuegel says more expensive milk means more problems for everyone.

"It doesn't benefit the consumer, it doesn't benefit the farmer," he says. "If the consumption of the milk that we sell goes down, then it'll drive our price down."

One reason is supply and demand.

"If somebody has to make a choice of a gallon of milk or something else they need," he says. "I would like them to take an extra gallon of milk to take more supply. As the price goes up , you don't want that mother or father to worry about whether they can afford it."

The threat of higher prices loomed large last winter when the farm bill was up for renewal. But Kuegel says he sees the glass as half full and believes milk won't get more expensive.

"With all the subjects that they've got going on, with immigration and budget battles, the farm bill seems like one of the more easy items for them to get a hold of," he says. Kuegel adds there's a chance congress could extend the current farm bill like they did last year. But some in Congress oppose that idea.
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