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Farm bill expiration could impact Idaho’s dairy industry

The Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of the year which could have significant impact on the dairy industry. Some analysts say milk prices could spike to six dollars a gallon.

Agricultural economist Paul Patterson said “It’s highly unlikely prices will get that high.”

Farmers across the country have seen a significant decrease in milk sales but an increase in sales of other dairy products like cheese and yogurt. If Washington lets the farm bill expire it would mean milk processing plants across the nation would have to pay farmers higher prices for their milk. Paying those higher prices would benefit farmers who would be able to turn higher profits, but for consumers it would mean seeing higher prices at the grocery store.

Idaho ranks third in dairy production. In the state there many local dairy farmers who produce their own milk, cutting out the middle man which ultimately benefits eastern Idaho consumers

“Now for us, when we produce our own milk, we’re not having to pay anyone for our milk, and so our milk would pretty much stay the same, we might take a little bit of an increase because feed costs are so high,” said Allen Reed, owner of Reed’s Dairy in Idaho Falls.

Idaho’s dairy industry employs about 13,000 people, 82% of those work on Idaho dairy farms. The average American consumes 20 gallons of milk each year.

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