CHATHAM, N.Y. – Cuts to the $80 billion food stamp program are at the center of a fight over renewing the nation's farm bill.
The House and Senate are scheduled to begin negotiations on the five-year, roughly $500 billion bill this week. If they don't finish it, dairy supports could expire at the end of the year and send the price of a gallon of milk skyward.
Farmers tell NEWS10 ABC they're waiting on Congress to pass the Farm Bill, and many say if the support it provides expires, the unknown could make a challenging market for their products.
As a farmer and Vice President of the New York Farm Bureau, Eric Ooms of Ooms & Sons Dairy Farm is concerned that if the Farm Bill is not passed by Congress at the end of the year, the dairy supports it provides would expire.
"If it gets to January 1st and they've done nothing, I mean the price of milk is supposed to probably nearly double," he says.
And that increase could mean people buy less milk and other products, according to Ooms.
"People will back off cheese and yogurt if the price gets too high so that is a legitimate concern. I mean if you don't have a market for your product I don't know I mean that's a problem. It's a big problem so I don't know how we navigate that," he says.
The Farm Bill also regulates food and nutrition programs, and the recent stalemate in Congress has focused on cuts to the food stamp program.
"They found a way to, you know, avoid default so hopefully they'll find a way to avoid the dairy default," he says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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