Prairie Farms VP: Major spike in milk prices highly unlikely

By Audrey Williams

December 27, 2012 Updated Dec 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- The fiscal cliff isn't the only pressing deadline for Congress. On January first, the current farm bill is set to expire. Many agricultural programs are at risk without one.

It would also mean U.S. Farm Policy would revert back to the Agriculture Act of 1949, which makes milk go up based on inflation.

Without a new farm bill or an extension, there's talk milk prices could double.

The Vice President of Procurement for Prairie Farms Gary Lee said theoretically, that could happen but believes it is very unlikely.

"The Secretary of Agriculture has the discretionary authority to set prices at a certain level for a certain length of time if we do not have a farm bill. In all likelihood, he would use that discretion to maintain the current support price of milk," said Lee.

He says consumers should not panic; if prices go up, he doesn't think it will happen overnight.

However, milk would not be the only product affected. Yogurt, butter, cheese and other commodities like corn, soybeans and wheat could all see an increase in price.

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