East Texas dairy farmers affected by shutdown: 'Milk prices coul - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas dairy farmers affected by shutdown: 'Milk prices could skyrocket'

The farm bill provides subsidies for dairy farmers who say without it, the price of milk could go up to seven or eight dollars a gallon. The farm bill provides subsidies for dairy farmers who say without it, the price of milk could go up to seven or eight dollars a gallon.
UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

East Texas dairy farmers say they are already feeling the effects of the government shutdown. With Congress locked up over the budget, and with the debt ceiling deadline in a few weeks, Congress may not get to pass a new farm bill. The farm bill provides subsidies for dairy farmers who say without it, the price of milk could go up to seven or eight dollars a gallon.

The Myers family of Poco Loco dairy farm in the Grice community produce 7,200 pounds in milk every two days. But without government subsidies, they worry about the future.

"Its had an immediate impact here on us, a small local farm. Our local FSA office in Tyler is closed and we don't have support from that office," says Jennifer Myers.  

If a new bill isn't signed by January first, the USDA will go back to a 1949 law compensating dairy farmers for production costs based on that era. What that means for you is that prices could skyrocket.

"We are pretty much at the mercy of the people that are going to pay us. We have no control over the milk price," says dairy farm manager Bear Vanderwier.

"Anytime our milk prices fall below a certain point, the government has been able to subsidize our income with payments, and now that has been shut off as well. It's going to make it very tough," Myers says. 

Could  $6, $7 or $8 a gallon for milk happen? It could have a profound impact on those with tight budgets.

"I'll become more conservative and perhaps buy it less often. We currently buy one gallon every two or three days. Now perhaps only a gallon a week," says consumer Deborah Lewis. 

But there is no alternative.

"I am prayerful the government shutdown will end soon," Myers says.

The farm bureau says that without the new farm bill, you can expect to be hit with higher grocery prices starting in January.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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