AGRIBUSINESS: USDA Not Implementing Permanent Law, Yet

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Without a new Farm Bill to suspend price supports from the old 1940s farm law, milk prices were supposed to double on Jan. 1.  It seems that will no longer happen.

The USDA determined it does not need to implement the old farm law yet.  The USDA says if negotiators can get a Farm Bill on the President’s desk, it could be backdated to cover the interim period from the start of the year through the date it was signed.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said permanent law would not be an issue if the Senate, like the House, had passed a short-term extension of the 2008 Farm Bill through the end of the month.  The Senate declined to consider the extension because it believed Farm Bill negotiators would produce a bill.

If there is no new Farm Bill by mid-January, Grassley said the Senate needs to seriously consider another extension.

If permanent law takes effect, the milk prices at the grocery store would double.  Milk price supports could quadruple, a development that the White House said could cost $12-billion each year.