Washington County VA

Milk prices could skyrocket if agreement isn't reached

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Milk prices may go way up if Congress doesn't either extend the farm bill or write a new one.

Uncertainty with the farm bill leaves dairy farmers like Rena Johnson concerned about her future income. "Honestly, dairy farmers, we don't know what to expect if they don't pass a farm bill," says Johnson.

Phil Blevins with the Washington County, Virginia Extension for Agriculture says if Congress doesn't reach an agreement prices of dairy products could soar. "It'll revert back to an older pricing system, which will be based more on cost and production and of course cost of production is high," adds Blevins.

Blevins says if it does revert back to the 1949 law it could be good for the farmers because they would get more money for their raw milk; but, milk prices may be too high for people to buy. Either way farmers could lose money. "We want a good price for our milk but we want it to be a price that consumers can be able to pay for it," says Johnson.

Consumers could feel the effects in their wallet too because prices could go up on things like cheese and milk. "If the costs goes up to us, then we have to pass it along to stay in business," adds Cristy Hutton, who is a store manager of Food Country U.S.A.

Meanwhile farmers are already getting ready for next year even though they aren't sure how much they'll get paid. "We don't know what our income is going to be. We're shelling out money that we don't know how much we're going to get back in return," says Johnson.

Law makers have until midnight on December 31 to reach an agreement until prices revert back. It's not clear what the price of milk could be due to many factors, like supply and demand and gas prices.

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