Failure to reach fiscal cliff deal could bring milk prices to $8 per gallon?

gal-bpa-plastic6-jpgBy John Lauinger

Americans are in danger of having insult added to the injury of a fall from the fiscal cliff — milk prices could rise to as much as $8 a gallon if Congress does not deliver a farm bill fix.

As President Obama and congressional leaders try to cut a deal to avoid the cliff’s sharp tax increases and spending cuts, agriculture committees in the House and Senate are trying to hammer out a short-term extension of the farm bill that expired Sept. 30.

If a new bill is not passed by Tuesday, prices for milk would by law be set by standards that date to 1949, which could fuel a sharp increase from the national average of $3.50 a gallon.

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana said during a Senate debate Friday that failure to extend the farm bill could cost many jobs.

“Make no mistake, the farm bill is a jobs bill,” he said, arguing that there is “no excuse for inaction.”