Milk Prices Could Go Up Next Year

Washington, D.C. (AP) -- The Secretary of Agriculture says milk could jump to $7 a gallon -- right now, it's averaging $3.47.

And it's not just milk that could get more expensive. Anything with dairy, like butter and cheese, could jump in price.

The price of other commodities could rise as well, and it's all because of Congress.

If lawmakers don't get a farm bill passed by January 1, dairy and other food prices could surge.

The reason? Policy would revert back to a 1949 law.

Back then, the dairy industry was smaller, and the government subsidized farmers by buying milk.

The problem is, without a deal, Congress would now end up paying double the market price in today's dollars.

Recent legislation has prevented that from happening, so far.

If the government buys it at $7, that will push up prices at the grocery store as well.

The big issue is that the farm bill is huge, and is made up of many components.

The biggest, and most contentious issue, is food stamps.

The House and Senate can't agree on how much to cut from the program because it's a political landmine.

47-million Americans receive food stamps -- that's nearly double the amount from a decade ago.

Still, many analysts expect Congress to come together on a deal before Jan. 1. Until then, get used to hearing warnings about the "dairy cliff."

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