Higher milk prices expected if farm bill isn't renewed

CLINTON COUNTY, Mo - Congress is set to start negotiations on the farm bill Wednesday. At the heart of the bill that is splitting Congress are cuts to the $80 billion a year food stamp program also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In Clinton County, Leroy Shatto, owner of the Shatto Milk Company, is one of the few family dairy farms in the nation who doesn't receive federal subsidies. But others who do are hinging on whether the nation's farm bill will be renewed.

If there isn't an agreement milk prices are expected to skyrocket.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the August the national average for a gallon of milk was $3.44, but if the farm bill isn't renewed, farmers say $8-a-gallon milk can occur.

It is true that there is an underlying law that was passed in 1949 that assures farmers that they will get paid the cost of production for their commodity, Jacqueline Klippenstein, Vice President at the Dairy Farmers of America said.

Farmers like Shatto add it's a case of supply and demand.

"If milk prices go up, they milk more cows so they can finally make money for a change and they drive the milk price back down," he said. "And on the other hand, if milk prices are so low, they have to milk more cows to make a steady income."

Last year, Congress extended the farm bill to September of this year.

"It's like two kids playing in a sand box, they're not going to let the other one win and look who's paying for it. It's ridiculous," Shatto said.

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