Farm Bill expiration affects more than just farmers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Farm Bill expiration affects more than just farmers

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The Farm Bill officially expired as of midnight Tuesday.

This deadline, among others, was missed in the midst of the turmoil in Congress.

There are both immediate and potential long-term effects from the absence of a Farm Bill. The immediate ones mostly affect farmers and agriculture programs.

Conservation program funding is directly impacted without a Farm Bill, as it leaves fewer federal dollars available for farmers.

The possible effects that could happen three months from now would be the ones to fall on the consumer.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said that, with no current Farm Bill in place, the bill passed in 1949 would take effect -- and that means a popular morning beverage would be sold at a higher price.

"Based on the prices, then, plus inflation, would make milk prices about $6 a gallon instead of about half that," Northey said.

The price of a gallon of milk would essentially double, turning into a hardship for many.

Fluctuation of milk prices would not happen immediately. Congress must act, however, by Jan. 1 to keep the cost of milk where it is currently. It can either pass an extension of the Farm Bill that was passed in 2008, or create a new bill completely.

Whatever it chooses to do, it only has roughly 13 weeks to decide.

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