$6 milk? Experts say it's a distinct possibility if Congress doesn't act

Farm bill compensates dairy producers

INDIANAPOLIS -  

The looming fiscal cliff isn't the only battle lawmakers are fighting on Capitol Hill.

There are concerns the price of milk could more than double to $6 a gallon if a new farm bill is not passed.

The bill compensates dairy producers when milk prices fluctuate and cow feed costs jump.

Farmers have come to rely on the insurance and financial support the government provides when demand varies and droughts force feed costs up.

The Senate has already passed its version of new farm legislation, but House members are still in disagreement over their bill.

If a deal isn't reached by Dec. 31, the United States would revert to a 63-year-old policy that would require the government to buy nonfat dry milk, cheese and butter at prices much higher than current market rates.

That would raise the price of all dairy products as farmers pass on the extra costs to consumers.

Whiteland dairy farmer Merrill Kelsay is concerned.

“All this together makes a big thing that this is as important as the fiscal cliff in my opinion,” Kelsay said.

Hoosiers typically buy milk for $3 a gallon or less. Milk is frequently sold for $2.50 at supermarkets.

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