UPDATED Monday, December 9, 2013 --- 7:42 p.m.
Time is running out for Congress to pass a new farm bill. If an agreement can’t be reached and a bill isn’t passed before the end of the year consumers will see higher food prices. In fact, milk prices could double.
One of the greatest increases will likely be for dairy products, because without a new farm bill dairy policies will revert back to laws created in the 1940s.
"You'll see a gallon of milk is going for 3.85 a gallon. think of that doubles to more than 7 dollars, " U.S. Rep.Mark Pocan, D-Wis., said.
If congress doesn't make a decision over the next week, those prices could go up by January 1st, 2014.
POSTED Tuesday, October 29, 2013-- 6:00 p.m.
Farmers are now working under an outdated bill from 2008 that was extended last month when the house and senate couldn't come to term's on this year's revisions.
A large part is changing how farmers are covered for unexpected losses. The new bill would eliminate upfront payments and create an insurance program for disasters like the snow storm in South Dakota earlier in October that killed tens of thousands of cattle. Those farmers are already feeling the effects of the delayed bill.
"We think it's long overdue to eliminate those long payments and have assistance with managing risk," said president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Jim Holte.
Now with a looming deadline of January 1, farmers are left wondering how to plan for the year ahead.
"It makes it much easier to plan for our year of cropping and livestock," said Holte.
The real hold up in congress isn't as much about farms-- it's the food stamp program.
"It's going to have a devastating impact," said Kris Tazelaar of Second Harvest Food Bank.
Cuts to the 80 billion dollar supplemental nutrition assistance program, or SNAP, are being argued. The House is calling for about a 5% cut, and the Senate calling for just a 10th of that amount. Either way, it will be coming on the heels of another massive cut to the program happening this week when additional benefits given to snap during the recession expire.
"There are other places they can look to keep it from putting it on the backs of those who are already struggling," said Tazelaar.
Friday, nearly $100 million dollars will be cut in Wisconsin leaving the more than 860,000 food stamp recipients with less each month, and food banks like Second Harvest having to the pick up the slack.
"You're asking us to double the amount of output that we have," said Tazelaar.
Congress plans to meet again on the farm bill Wednesday.