1949 Law

1949 Law

1949 Law

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

If Congress does not pass a new Farm Bill, federal farm policy will revert back to 'permanent' agriculture laws passed in 1949. That would mean the reintroduction of a radically different farm program that would lead to much higher prices for food staples such as milk and bread. While the 1949 permanent law doesn't kick in immediately, for dairy programs, the turmoil already started on September 1 because a change to the formula for determining milk payments to farmers effectively ended those payments on that date. Jay Gordon, with the Washington State Dairy Federation, had this to say on Congress' inaction on the Farm Bill and what reverting to 1949 law means for dairy producers.

GORDON: I don't think anybody even knows what that would look like or mean other than it puts the price of milk at a government support level of some ridiculous figure like $40 per hundredweight. So if Congress wants to do that, I think most of our guys would go fine, we'll take $40 bucks a hundredweight.

Milk and dairy prices for consumers could end up being nearly double current prices.

GORDON: Yeah, probably $5.5 bucks - $6 bucks a gallon. I can't imagine Congress doing absolutely nothing and then getting to the first of January and having USDA go dust off the history books and go "ok, now what are we supposed to do".

Gordon says he hopes Congress finishes their work and does not go for another Farm Bill extension.

GORDON: Pass the farm bill. Sit down, iron out your differences and get something to the President's desk and quit this stuff. Because most of the conservation programs (will) go awol, a lot of the food stamp programs - women, infant and children programs, all the feeding programs - all those would go bye bye, and all you're left with is this archaic piece of history that is the basis for the farm bill.

On January 1, the dairy price support program itself will expire, becoming the first program to revert to permanent law.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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