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One-year extension deal set to keep milk price down

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 10:28 p.m. MDT

Talon Larson, one of Happie and Rich Larson's foster children, takes a sip of milk during dinner in his Layton home, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. Rising milk prices will have a severe effect on the Larsons who often go through two gallons of milk per day (Ben Brewer, Deseret News) Talon Larson, one of Happie and Rich Larson's foster children, takes a sip of milk during dinner in his Layton home, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. Rising milk prices will have a severe effect on the Larsons who often go through two gallons of milk per day (Ben Brewer, Deseret News)

The top leaders in both parties on the House and Senate Agriculture committees have agreed to a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that expired in October, a move that could head off a possible doubling of milk prices next month.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., indicated the House could vote on the bill soon, though House leaders have not yet agreed to put the bill on the floor. In addition to the one-year extension that has the backing of the committees, the House GOP is also considering two other extension bills: a one-month extension and an even smaller bill to extend dairy policy that expires Jan. 1.

Expiration of those dairy programs could mean higher prices at the grocery store within a few weeks. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Americans face the prospect of paying $7 for a gallon of milk if the current dairy program lapsed and the government returned to a 1948 formula for calculating milk price supports.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that Republican leaders had not decided how they would proceed on the farm extension. Boehner has pushed back on passage of a new five-year farm bill for months, saying there were not enough votes to bring it to the House floor. The Senate passed a farm bill in June.

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