'Dairy cliff' possible without new farm bill

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Milk prices could double if Congress fails to pass a new farm bill by the end of the year. MPR reports without action from federal lawmakers a 1949 law will take effect -- giving farmers the option to sell dairy products at a significantly higher price than current prices.

"It sounds good to a farmer to get that much money but long term for the industry would not be good," said Dave Buck, vice president of the board of directors of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. "That big of a price increase that quickly would turn off a lot of consumers."

Bob Cropp, dairy marketing professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, says it would take several months before prices spike at the supermarket.

President Obama and congressional leaders are also struggling to fix the dreaded "fiscal cliff" -- a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect in January if a new budget deal isn't reached.

The Star Tribune notes 12,000 unemployed Minnesotans will also lose their extended federal unemployment insurance benefits unless Congress acts before Dec. 31.

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