Milk prices could spike -- even double -- around the new year, as a bill that would provide federal aid to dairy farmers sits dormant in Washington.
The Sept. 30 deadline for a new farm bill came and went, with the legislation stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, members of Congress are on a five-week break, and Republican leaders announced they will not take action on the bill until after the November elections.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, says we may all pay the price in the dairy aisle.
"Within a few short weeks and months, the price of this commodity will double, cheese will double," Schumer said. "It will cost middle class families and all families a fortune, and it will hurt our economy rather significantly."
Local dairy farmer Chris Heins, with the Heins Family Farms, said that most operations only pocket a portion of retail prices.
"On average across the nation, 30 percent of what the retail cost is what we get," he explained.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price for a gallon of milk in August was $3.47. While dairy farmers received 30 cents on the dollar, the summer's heat and drought took a chunk out of their profits.
"A cow's ideal temperature is 40 or 50 degrees, and so those 100-degree days we had, you know, it really hits them hard," Heins said. "The cows produced less milk and then there's less feed available. There's less milk out there, so the costs are ultimately going to rise."
According to the National Milk Producers Federation, government purchases of dairy products under the outdated law could cause milk prices to rise above $6 per gallon.
The farm bill is enacted every five to seven years. The 2012 farm bill passed the Senate in June, but it remains stalled in the House of Representatives.
CNN News contributed to this report.
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