WASHINGTON, D.C.--If you've heard of the "Milk Fiscal Cliff", then you probably know Congress is working to avoid a situation that could cause a gallon of milk to go up to $7 or more. But, if Congress does not pass a full extension of the Farm Bill, it's not only Mississippi milk consumers who will be affected. The state's farmers of all sorts will lose a vital safety net.
We talked with Chip Morgan, the executive vice-president of the Delta Council. He said the Farm Bill brings about $90 million into the state on an annual basis. That's in the form of federal subsidies and what amounts to financial insurance for farmers during lean times or in case of negative happenings on the farm front.
Meanwhile, in Washington, several options are being considered to solve the immediate problem, which would be the dairy aspect. One of those options is a dairy-only extention, which would give Congress time to work out a deal on the rest of the Farm Bill later.
Another option would be a one-month extension, rather than a one-year extension.
Either way, Mississippi farmers, producing corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat or any other product, would be left high and dry, at least for a while.
Morgan said the most critical time for Mississippi farmers is early spring, and that doies leave time for a full-blown solution.
History and caution show, though, that Congress has also been working on solving the "Fiscal Cliff" problem since 2011.