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Dairy cows at Greenwood Dairy, in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty
Dairy cows at Greenwood Dairy, in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty

Updated: Senate passes limited Farm Bill extension

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Updated 3:25pm: The Senate passed a limited nine-month extension of the 2008-2012 farm bill. It avoids the "dairy cliff" (see below) and preserves the older MILC dairy price support program. But it cuts many popular programs, including disaster insurance, conservation, and organic certification support.

Read this blog post at our new farm and food blog, The Dirt, for the latest:

The US Congress failed to pass a new Farm Bill by the end of the year. But that doesn't mean milk prices are going to double immediately, as some had feared.

The House and Senate Agriculture Committees had a deal in place Monday to extend the 2008 farm bill for another nine months. But the agreement never came to the House floor for a vote. House leaders balked at a new safety net for dairy farmers that would restrict the milk supply if prices fell below a certain level.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

According to CBS News, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is working on a scaled-back measure that could be brought to the floor in the Senate and House in the coming days.

Technically, a 1949 law takes effect today that will double the price the government has to pay farmers for milk. But it’s unlikely that will result in higher milk prices at the grocery store, at least in the short term.

Bruce Krupke of the Northeast Dairy Association says any price increase would take two to three months.

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