My favorite part of “Anchorman” is when Ron Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell, is walking outside, after just having lost his job as Lead News Anchor to his lover, Christina Applegate. He is disheveled, beardy, and walking down a busy sidewalk, chugging a carton of milk. With milk dripping from his beard and sweat on his brow, he grumbles, “Milk was a bad choice.”
Maybe you had to be there (maybe you have to watch the movie).
With everyone biting their nails off over the fiscal cliff that we’re now hanging off of, have any of us had any time to stop and think about how milk is doing? That sounds funny, but its actually not. To Ron Burgundy, milk may have been a bad choice for a moment that required scotch, but if we go off the “milk cliff,” milk may not be a choice in many of our refrigerators any longer. So, fiscal cliff – who knows what’s happening with that? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. But, just in case you wanted to take up biting your toenails, here’s something new to worry about.
The latest temporary farm bill was passed in 2008 and set to expire in 2012. If it expires, the 1949 Agricultural Act (the last permanent farm legislation) will go into effect, meaning that the price of milk would DOUBLE because this law was written based on 1949’s cost of production – hand-milked, mind you – plus inflation. What this means for us is that come tomorrow, we could be forking over $8 for a gallon of milk. That’s major.
If we go off this milk cliff, it will obviously be bad for our wallets, but (temporarily) good for dairy farmers since the government would actually be required to buy out milk from them for double the price. They’d cash out, at first. But, the dairy farmers who would have this boom in income admit that it would be bad for their business in the long run, since people would stop drinking so much milk if it were expensive. It’s not only milk that would be affected either. It’s the whole host of milk products – cheese, yogurt, butter.
So, it seems like a no-brainer that Congress needs to pass some new farm legislation. But, what’s keeping it from happening is the fact that this type of legislation would also mean cuts to food stamps – which would make a lot of the people who are drinking their milkshakes on the government’s dime pretty unhappy.
The good news is that it looks like Farm-state lawmakers have agreed to a year-long extension to this farm bill. So, if that can pass through the House of Representatives, Senate, and the President, on the 1st, our milk will remain a part of our Fruity Pebbles for another year, at least.