People Are Freaking Out About $8-a-Gallon Milk

And it's time to stop

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CNN Newsouce

It’s the end of the year, and Congress is fighting over a farm bill again, which can mean only one thing: ’tis the season for warnings that Americans could wake up in 2014 and suddenly be paying eight bucks for a gallon of milk. But while the prospect of milk doubling in price overnight makes for an attention-getting headline, it’s not what’s going to happen. 

First, a quick history lesson: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is required to buy butter, cheese and powdered milk to set a floor for milk prices. It acts kind of like the Federal Reserve, except instead of setting interest rates, the agency’s actions impact what we pay for a gallon of milk. The formula was adjusted over the years to balance what farmers make with how much consumers pay, and today’s rate expires with the current farm-bill extension at the end of the year.

If Congress does nothing, the status quo will revert back to the original 1949 law — which was based on a complex formula dating back to the pre–World War I era, when the earnings of rural farmers and city dwellers were much closer than they are today, says Marin Bozic, an assistant professor in dairy-foods-marketing economics at the University of Minnesota.

(MORE: How to Beat Rising Food Prices: Be Smart About When You Buy)

This means the USDA would have to pay dairy farmers about twice as much as it does now. But that doesn’t mean $8 milk for a few reasons:

Congress will probably get its act together. We’ve been down this road before, and dire predictions of $8 milk came to naught. “This is Groundhog Day,” Bozic says. “We woke up, and there’s the same song on the radio. If we don’t get the new farm bill, we’ll get an extension.” Lawmakers can’t agree on much, but nobody wants to be responsible — or even perceived as being responsible — for an increase in dairy prices.

The USDA could drag its feet. “It is USDA’s purchases … that moves market prices, not a simple declaration by the secretary,” Cornell University agricultural-economics professor Andrew M. Novakovic wrote last year when Congress was wrangling over the farm bill. In practical terms, this means the agency could dawdle getting its ducks in a row. “USDA could take a while to get all that machinery in motion, while Congress presumably came to its senses and retroactively stopped it all,” he wrote.

There are commercial barriers. “I think that if it was much over a month you’d start to see some folks beginning to sell product to the government. But it would probably take at least that long,” University of Wisconsin at Madison director of dairy-policy analysis Mark Stephenson tells US News and World Report. Farmers would have to wait until their contracts with private-sector companies ran out before they could sell to the government, US News points out, and it would take a while to turn huge amounts of milk into butter, cheese and powdered milk if processors get inundated.

(MORE: Turkey Drought? Bacon Crisis? Don’t Believe the Hype)

Selling to Uncle Sam takes preparation. Even in the unlikely event that Congress doesn’t pass a new farm bill or an extension, it could be even longer — March or April — before the needle moves on milk prices, Bozic says. The USDA requires very precise specifications in packaging and labeling. “Nobody is preparing for this,” Bozic says, and it would probably take around six weeks for producers to start getting government-approved packaging materials. “We’re not talking hours and days here,” he says.

It’s not a straight pass-through. Only about 55% of what we pay to buy milk in grocery stores reflects the wholesale price, Bozic says. The rest is packaging, marketing, distribution and so on. So, even under a worst-case scenario in which the government paid twice as much to dairy farmers as they do now, we’d be talking about $5.25 milk, not $8. But even that is highly unlikely, he says.

145 comments
nosamall
nosamall

When the farmers come to Washington DC, I would not want to be in Congressional shoes, if the price of milk goes


                                                                                         SKY HIGH IN PRICE !


THEY WILL RUN CONGRESS OUT OF TOWN.............................................................................................. 


JDN568
JDN568

Some of you people are truly twisted, those who wish others to be raped, etc.  Some of you are truly psychotic and some of you are truly uneducated.  Some of you have commented stating things where you have done absolutely no research.  I'll continue to enjoy drinking milk.  I'll continue to enjoy eating cheese and ice cream.  I'll continue to enjoy anything made with milk.  The vegan thing isn't for me and never will be so I'll continue to eat roasts, steaks, hamburgers and whatever else that is made using beef.  If I were to take any of what SallyLRickerson, wadejburg, cwiz or any other with similar thoughts or comments seriously, then I would probably be as uneducated and or insane as they are.  


If you read "Sixty percent of adults can't digest milk" where it states " Instead, people who are lactose intolerant can't digest the main sugar —lactose— found in milk. In normal humans, the enzyme that does so —lactase— stops being produced when the person is between two and five years old. The undigested sugars end up in the colon, where they begin to ferment, producing gas that can cause cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence and diarrhea", you will find out what you should have actually said cwiz.  


I am however not one of those 60% of people and will continue as I said to consume milk and milk products as well as beef.  


People can make hate comments all you like towards others but the fact of this whole thing about milk prices is fueled by greed and the world is driven by greed.  The world works on greed.  The world revolves around greed.  If any of you can actually sit back and think about things and actually watch or study the chain of effects, you'll see that any industry rather it be dairy, grains, meats, vegetables, automobiles, electronics, etc., it is all driven by greed.

kate_106
kate_106

Really PhillipLivingston? In actuality, the Farm Bill is helping you guys out!! As a dairy farmer, with milk prices as low as they are we are barely making ends meet! Let it go to $8.00 so our earnings can actually keep up with inflation!! All of our input costs have increased drastically but our prices! So before you talk about "corporate welfare" for milk producers, maybe you should check your facts or actually step foot on a dairy farm!

PhilipLivingston
PhilipLivingston

I am a people, and I am not freaking out. No more corporate welfare for milk producers. Let them go to the free enterprise system like other industries.

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

     If you have the time, please watch the Documentary Earthlings  It is a normal reaction from Carnivorous People to feel offended, shameful, to shy away from looking through the window of who and what we are. More and more Humans on this Planet are accepting the truth, day by day, understanding the truth for the first time. For many, it is hard at first, sort of like deprogramming. It is hard to let go of what you thought was right you entire life. Many will fight it, many will walk away from it. many will cry and see it. To truly see. Thank you.

mmcgurgan
mmcgurgan

I pay 4 dollars US for a liter of milk in Hong Kong already.

thematterwithkeith
thematterwithkeith

Milk prices will only matter to Time when a Republican is in the White House.  

MelanieWingo
MelanieWingo

I have no desire to be part of the "hate animal byproducts and the people who consume them" group or the group that calls one another idiots and other stupid names or the ones wishing someone were raped and oh whatever you people are going on about. I simply LOVE milk.  I have my whole life and I am smart enough to know that yes I can get Vitamin D somewhere else but I LOVE MILK and My kids love milk and they are not dying from drinking it.   My family goes through maybe 3 gallons a week when you count cooking ,yes that's right I use it to cook with also OMG, and all I have to say is right now it is costing me almost $4 a gallon and that sucks.  I would like it to be cheaper.   Cause I LOVE MILK.   Thank you

StaceyShoemaker
StaceyShoemaker

"First, a quick history lesson: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is required to buy butter, cheese and powdered milk to set a floor for milk prices. It acts kind of like the Federal Reserve, except instead of setting interest rates, the agency’s actions impact what we pay for a gallon of milk."


there's your trouble... 


wadejburg
wadejburg

milk is gross and fuels cancer growth, you can get your daily puss and blood drink elsewhere

bluesonglady
bluesonglady

This is ridiculous!  It's too bad the people who run the show don't care since they are all rich and it won't matter to them.  This whole situation reminds me of the time right before the French revolution, or so the story goes.  Beware of the people if you starve their children they may want your heads!

rlain
rlain

Consumers will have to adhere to the new congressional CPI formula substitute milk with a less costly product such as water.

cwiz
cwiz

Our bodies aren't even designed to digest milk.  In-fact, milk becomes increasingly toxic to males as they age.  So just back off of the milk.

cnandrews1001
cnandrews1001

And, queue the self-righteous comments revolving around people who don't drink milk (for whatever reason), those who blame milk for some ailment or ill, and finally those who see milk production as abusive to animals / land / environment.  


Milk is milk - it's made by cows and people drink it...something they've been doing for years.  It can be made into cheese, butter or other stuff that tastes good and is fairly useful.  Some people get sick from drinking cow milk - so, they should refrain from doing so.

Deepelemblues12
Deepelemblues12

Who knew that even milk could generate so much histrionic hate.

schmelon
schmelon

My son quit drinking milk and has exercised induced asthma went away. It might not be as "healthy"  as commonly reported.

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

Best advise? Go Vegan. What is with people drinking milk? It is a horrendous lie that Humans need to drink Milk. Do you even know how much cruelty to Cows goes on? They, the workers, strip the baby away from the Mother  right after Birth to either be sold as veal or killed The Mother Cow is artificially inseminated year round to produce milk. As soon as her Calf, basically, ripped out of her, it is taken away. She Moos incessantly for her newborn. That baby will never Suckle.It's fate is death.  Please educate yourselves on the horrific brutal Dairy Industry. YOU DO NOT NEED MILK!!!!!!!!!!!! EVER! There are so many Plant based species you can get Vitamin D from, including many others. Do you know how much Antibiotics, Steroids,  Pus, and blood are in Milk???? There are so many great alternatives that are Animal Free, Cruelty Free. I speak absolute truth. TIME TO WAKE UP EVERYONE!!! Wash your hands of this Holocaust.

gfjc60
gfjc60

@wadejburg your comment may be valid, however, it is also condesending and not supported by science. therefore please keep your folk lore to yourself

megalon98133
megalon98133

You do realize that cancer is our natural predator right? Since we're highest on the food chain, that's why cancer is common form of death. Did you know that just about anything done in excess causes cancer. In fact, whatever one does in excess will most likely be the cause of death. Just as Jim Fixx.

megalon98133
megalon98133

Ever see a commie drink milk? Vodka, that's all they drink, right Mandrake?

Deepelemblues12
Deepelemblues12

@schmelon And I've poured a half gallon to a gallon of milk down my throat every day for almost 15 years and it's never given me any problems. I've also never broken a bone ever, maybe it's turned me into Wolverine... or maybe using someone who has asthma, even exercised induced asthma, as a reason milk may not be as healthy as reported, is pretty invalid.

xtfranklinxt
xtfranklinxt

@SallyLRickerson Who cares!  No to $8/gallon milk.  


By the way:  I'm for the People Eating Tasty Animals.  I'm gonna fry me up a big, juicy steak - probably the biggest they've ever yanked out of a cow.   

DavidNewcum
DavidNewcum

oh brothert this is city girl complaining   Im a country guy living off the land   Ill survive without going to supermarket

megalon98133
megalon98133

WOW! Woweewow-wow! Really? Holocaust? This is the same as people being slaughtered by the millions for their ethnic/religious background by a power-hungry tyrant? Get a grip, nutjob.

cwiz
cwiz

@SallyLRickerson A bit extreme, but milk isn't good for you.  Calcium is, but you can get them from plenty of other natural sources.

jayso27
jayso27

@SallyLRickerson  I won't ever go Vegan.  I enjoy animal byproducts way to much to.  I'm especially fond of DAIRY products.  Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Ice Cream, Butter...mmmmmm.  My life holds more value than that cow or calf's life.  Maybe it's time for you to wake up and smell reality.  People don't care about the plight of some farm animal when we have our own problems to contend with.  We instead like these products that make our lives a little better and offer us some sort of comfort and enjoyment.  

profesora
profesora

You speak nonsense. Calves are not "ripped out of" their mothers. Cows quickly get over the loss of their calves. (BTW, in nature, young often fail to survive or are killed by males of the species trying to get the mother to be mating receptive. They don't need therapy.)  


Be vegan. Fine. Just don't be stupid.

PQ
PQ

Food chains are chains, not simple pyramids.  I could smoke in "moderation" and it would still statistically do me in sooner, at a real indirect cost to your wages.  Cancer and heart disease are in epidemic status right now specifically because of the animal diet, and artificial arguments about non-excess won't change that. 

Someday we will look back at the age of the dairy rape rack in which people didn't care about animals in trauma for weeks over the bereavement of their young as the same kind of barbarism we now correctly view slavery (though there will probably still be apologists for it then too.) 

Moral evolution is a slow process even when all the overwhelming economic arguments favor it too.      

cwiz
cwiz

@Deepelemblues12 Nutritionists and scientists have proved the need for calcium (which is what you're referencing), but they've also proven that our bodies aren't designed for milk intake past nursing.  Lactose intolerant people are actually the "normal" ones.  The rest of us have mutated to tolerate something we don't need but force "down our throats".

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

gfjc60. I ask you to watch 2 Documentaries. One is titled "From farm to Frige" The other, which you might have heard of is called "Earthlings". If you have the time, please do. I am, an Animal activist, Yes,and it such freedom, only if you knew. Thanks. 

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

Hi David, I live in a City, yes, I love the Country as well. But, I also Love Animals and they derserve to live in Peace and be free. That is the perfect Country.

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

A Holocaust is a definition, and yes, Animals in the Industrial Farming Industry live in a Holocaust.You can come up with something better than nut job.Dude. 

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

You can get great comfort from non Animal foods. Just try it, you will like it.

wadejburg
wadejburg

@jayso27 @SallyLRickerson  i pray to god that you shall be raped your baby taken straight away and murdered and then rape you again and repeat....... and no you are no better than a cow.  you help poison this planet just for greed and selfishness 

AlanL.Falk
AlanL.Falk

@profesora ... prof, this is obviously an emotional and religious issue for Sally, so please don't try to clutter up her life with logic.  It'll stick as well as it would to Teflon.

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

profesora, You need to really do some research. They NEVER keep the Bulls with the Females. Every farm Animal is artificially inseminated. Do you actually think Male and Female are procreating in the Fields??? You are the stupid one. Sorry.

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

Yes they are. They are taken from their Mothers after Birth. They are used for Veal, or dog or cat food. They die either way. They are considered Garbage.

wadejburg
wadejburg

@profesora taken directly away chained down unable to move then slathered while young and undeveloped.. you know veal infant male cow

wadejburg
wadejburg

@profesora how can your arrogantly assume cows forget about their babies, would you 

AlanL.Falk
AlanL.Falk

@megalon98133 ... MANY decades ago, one of my mentors pointed out that if you graph the increase in the incidence of cancer versus the increase in the use of electricity, the correlation factor is remarkably high.


OK, everyone... go to the main circuit panel in your home, find the ones labeled "Main" and flip them to the "off" position.


Right... Sure...


Logic and facts go out the window as soon as anyone injects the word "moral" into a discussion.


Good post, Meg.

PQ
PQ

John_In_SD:  You'd have to be more specific, but see if I cover it anyway. 

megalon:  The medical link specifically between the meat diet and coronary and oncological diseases is addressed in videos like Eating or Forks over Knives.  Relativizing away the connection doesn't do much good when you can control for such things in studies.  Your allusion to wafer-thin vegans is funny given how many high-level athletes from track stars to weightlifters have demonstrated or improved the value of intelligent health. 

The Christianity argument is equally dispatched, though I won't do so in exhausting detail since my experience is Christians are often tar babies on the subject.  I did however catch an apologeticist off a prominent website completely off guard by deflating every argument he had ever made on the subject and even a few he didn't even know about, to the point his reply was, I'm not willing to concede the point, but I admit you've made a devastating and thorough biblical case.  And that's before we get to the fact you could make similar "Christian" arguments for slavery - which you would be stung instead of flattered by.  If you argue all of mainstream Christianity 150+ years ago was full of beans, you make the label meaningless and open yourself up to the same "Christian" rejection of you another 150 years from now.  Which given your near-contempt for the anguish of mother animals bereft of their young is probably to be expected.  Leather has substitutes too, I've been living without it for well over a decade.  And if you're that happy about the recycling of "energy", I'm sure you'll be the first to volunteer your family.  Or not. 


But I think it may be the environmental impact, rather than our moral courage or nobility or *cough* Christianity or foresightedness, that ultimately forces us to confront our rationalizations and selfishness.  Water wars, major air and land pollution, and even our health care crises, have solutions we pigheadedly are trying to ignore but can't forever. 

John_In_SD
John_In_SD

PQ,  Where did you come up with this?

megalon98133
megalon98133

"Cancer and heart disease are in epidemic status right now" - compared to WHEN? Seriously, the comfort of life where cancer and heart disease could be topping the charts is pretty recent history. Life expectancy has risen drastically - recently- due to the lack of black plagues, Ottoman/Islamic hordes, world wars, scalped by injuns, etc etc. Not to mention people, in their new comfort, are a lot less exercised, ergo a lot of food that isn't being worked through the system, therefore becoming a problem. You have to work your body a certain way depending on the food you eat. I mean, if you want to be a wafer-thin , lean, pale, tired but healthy vegan who takes the Encyclopedia Britannica to the bathroom with him after all the Hork'n Fiber Plus, then so be it. But you have got to drop the personifying animals bit. First off, it falls flat to Christians, as the Bible tells them they have dominion over all and that animals are livestock and a food source. It falls flat on nature, seeing as how all the other animals eat each other. And as someone else mentioned, if we don't use cows for meat or milk, why would we keep them around? Horse population has radically diminished post-automobile. We going to keep cows around to make baseball gloves or jackets? Which bring to another excellent point at how surprisingly well humans utilize every part of the livestock.


Tell you what tho, you've got my support if you can come up with an instant cloning device, so that way there's no bereavement, only a *ding* "Moo?" *bang*. Plus I'm not exactly sure cows feel the same human emotions as we do. Plus, you can feel happy that after it dies, it's energy will return to be recycled into another life. Plus the life of the cow lives on in that who ate it, according to Native Americans. Plus, that way your neighbor who ate it, will have the strength to help defend when the global Call to Prayer attack occurs. But the hypothetical grievances of a cow?

megalon98133
megalon98133

'normal' - well there's your problem with reality there. Every single human body is different. Care to include environment, rest of diet, exercise routines, geneology, personal defects, etc, before dishing out 'normal' and 'mutant' labels, Cmdr Stryker?

SallyLRickerson
SallyLRickerson

wadebjburg I live modestly. I live in a modest home. I wear second hand clothing. So, please go see a Psychiatrist.You display very worrisome anger and violence tendencies. Other People have read your statement, and is is threatening. You sound like a valid threat to Society.

MelanieWingo
MelanieWingo

@wadejburg I'm sure that your not poisoning this planet by praying to your GOD that someone should be raped repeatedly.  Hatred is just as poison as greed and selfishness.  I'll pray that my Goddess sends you light and love.  :)

megalon98133
megalon98133

You're right, it's too bad. Those calfs should have gotten scholarships to Yale and decent jobs... -_-''