Price of milk could go over $6 a gallon

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Picking up a gallon of milk could soon give you a case of sticker shock. If lawmakers don't act soon, the price of milk could double.

Gridlock in the House over the Farm Bill is now threatening the cost of milk, which could double to over $6 a gallon. Some people say they would just have to stop drinking it.

Consumer Ginny Pieri said, "What else you going to do when you can't afford it? When you're a senior living on a fixed income?"

If the Farm Bill doesn't pass, the dairy industry, still strong in parts of western New York, could be in great peril, according to those who warn that the government would then have to initiate industry support formulas that date back to 1940s.

Sen. Charles Schumer said, "And that requires the federal government to buy a huge amount of milk at a price that is about double the price of our present milk. As a consequence, the price of milk on the store shelves would go up, and not just milk, but cheese, cakes, everything that's made with milk."

The dairy industry is frustrated with the stalemate in the House over the Farm Bill. That bill has other legislation attached to it, including the Food Stamp Program.

John Zittel of Zittel's Dairy Farm said, "I think it's probably a political football being kicked around right now, trying to get people bargain at the table."

"In the House, there are about 70 or 80 House members who say the government shouldn't be involved in agriculture, but the vast majority are for it, so if Speaker [John] Boehner would put the bill on the floor it would pass," Sen. Schumer said.

But it's the consumers who bring milk home to the table who are most fearful, and somewhat resentful of Congress.

Consumer Linda Brown said, "Do they not see what's going on in the public sector, how we're struggling?"

"Have a little mercy on us," added consumer Shantel Craig. "You know everybody doesn't have money coming out of their ears, you know. Some of us actually work and have to struggle for it, we want to take care of our kids and feed our kids, just like anybody else."

Even those fighting hard for the Farm Bill say it is not likely the government would allow the price of milk to skyrocket even if the bill isn't passed right away. But because of the so-called Fiscal Cliff and all the partisanship in Washington, Sen. Schumer is afraid the Farm Bill might "fall through the cracks."

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