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Washington extends 2008 Farm Bill

January 2, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC — Leaders in the Senate and House Agriculture committees on the last day of 2012 announced that they had reached a deal to extend the 2008 Farm Bill for a year. The agreement had not yet been voted by the full House and Senate, but they were expected to pass it.

Failure to pass it would mean that the formula used to price milk would revert to one that is decades old, and milk prices would skyrocket in the region and across the country.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey held a conference call with reporters on the issue on December 28, and said if the 2008 Farm Bill were allowed to expire with nothing to replace it, the result would be that consumers would end up paying “between $6 and $8 for a gallon of milk.”

Casey said the increased price would be in addition to the increased taxes that would impact families because of Congress going over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Democrats and Republicans have differed over cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as the food stamp program, which consumes the largest share of the Farm Bill budget.

As for the fiscal cliff itself, on December 31, Republicans and Democrats reportedly reached a deal whereby taxes would go up for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year, and families earning more than $450,000 per year.

President Barack Obama wanted taxes to rise on families making more than $250,000 but analysts say both sides compromised.