‘Dairy cliff’ averted; farm bill work awaits

NORWICH – Thanks to last-minute fiscal cliff agreements in Congress, local farmers and dairy consumers alike were also spared the “dairy cliff,” which would have resulted in a loss of valuable income safety programs for dairy producers while simultaneously causing local milk prices to jump as high as $7 per gallon at the grocery store.

This week, Congress voted to extend provisions of the 2008 national Farm Bill that had initially expired in September. Traditionally, a new farm bill is adopted every five years, but the proposed 2012 Farm Bill failed to pass the House of Representatives by year’s end, despite its approval from the Senate, being heavily favored among agriculturalists, and the support of key legislators.

Local dairy farmers were the first to feel the pinch in September with the loss of the federal Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) that compensated them for lost income when national milk prices fell below a certain dollar amount.

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