Fiscal Cliff Failure Could Trip Up 2012 Farm Bill, Doubling Milk Prices

(Chicago) – Falling off the “fiscal cliff” will also drag the 2012 federal farm bill over the edge, triggering an expected doubling of milk prices in January, according to officials.

If fiscal cliff budget negotiations, it could block farm bill re-authorization, triggering the doubling of milk prices.

Politico’s David Rogers reported on Wednesday that fiscal cliff budget talks and the farm bill are locked at the hip:

The four top House and Senate players on the farm bill are scheduled to meet Thursday with Agriculture Secy. Tom Vilsack, a luncheon which has taken on added importance given the growing pressure for some resolution before the end of next month.

Consumers are threatened by a potential doubling in milk prices January 1, absent some action by Congress. And Vilsack and the Agriculture Committees must soon decide if they have any real shot of wrapping a five-year farm bill into whatever deficit reduction package emerges from talks now between the White House and Congress.

Doubling of milk price would strike a heavy blow on the diets of the poor suffering from chronic disease, particularly HIV/AIDS, according to Vital Bridge’s chief healthcare expert.

“Since a high proportion of our clients get food stamps SNAP, at least small monthly awards $80 to $100, a doubling of milk prices would mean that their ability to buy any food would be jeopardized and they would turn to us for more food which we can’t provide,” said Deborah Hinde, chief healthcare strategist for the Chicago-based Vital Bridges Center on Chronic Care/Heartland Healthcare Outreach.

“The Greater Chicago Food Depository would also have less food to share with programs like ours,” Hinde added.

Read the full Politico story here…

Twitter @VitalBridges

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