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Local farmers concerned for dairy cliff’s impact on grocery costs

Posted at 11:34 PM, Dec 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-30 23:47:12-05

MINERAL, VA (WTVR) -- Jim Riddell doesn't usually pay attention to what's going on in Washington, but as President of the Louisa County Farm Bureau he's been paying close attention to it in recent weeks.

"I don't understand why we're quite at this fiscal cliff and I don't understand why the farm bill wasn't dealt with a lot earlier," Riddell says.

Riddell is not only concerned about his fellow farmers, he's concerned about its potential impact on grocery bills.

"It is all interconnected - grain prices, cattle, prices, milk prices," Riddell says.

Riddell says that if Congress doesn't reach a deal, farmers will only get the subsidies promised to them in the original 1949 Farm Bill - meaning 60 years of subsidies will be lost.

"Consumers when they go into the grocery store are going to be a bit shocked when instead of $3.60 dollars for mile, they see seven dollars for a gallon of milk," US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

Fearing an economic impact, Congressional leaders on both sides of the isle agreed to extend the current bill by one year Sunday. But CBS News in Washington is reporting that agreement may never reach the floor because of the ongoing drama surrounding the fiscal cliff.