LORETTO, CAMBRIA COUNTY - It's not as well known as the Fiscal Cliff, but the Dairy Cliff could bring an immediate impact to both producers and consumers in the area. With the current farm bill set to expire, we could be looking at an extreme price spike if leaders in Washington can't strike a deal.
Without a new farm bill, national agriculture policies could be going back in time. If nothing changes in the next few days, government will revert to the same policies they used in 1949.
"We've never had to confront this as we are now because roughly every 5 years youve had a new farm bill or an extension to prevent that 1940's policy from being imposed on our farmers, our families and our consumers." Sen. Bob Casey says.
Those old polices would call for an additional 12 to 15 billion dollars in spending and cause milk prices to sky-rocket.
"Going to the store the price of a gallon of milk or even a half-gallon will go up in ways that I'm not sure it ever has," Casey says.
With the clock winding down in Washington, dairy producers are stuck in a holding pattern.
"We're a local family farm who has lots of local customers, so we truly hope for this issue to be resolved so we can continue our day to day operations and keep doing what we do best here," Carissa Itle Westrick of Vale Wood Farms says.
As a local dealer the immediate national impact won't affect their pricing, but that doesn't mean they won't see a change.
"If that would end up affecting state pricing requirements then that's something that we would have to respond to as well. The state does set a minimum price at what milk can be purchased at," Westrick says.
Westrick says buyers have shown concern recently over what might happen if a new farm bill isn't passed and the overall sentiment is frustration.
"It's a shame that Washington bickering falls out and ends up impacting people like you and I. My kids are six and eight and I feel like they can negotiate better than some of the folks in Washington right now," Westrick says.
The Senate has already passed a Farm Bill, and the house is scheduled to meet on Sunday. Senator Casey said he is optimistic they'll be able to get the bill passed in the house to avoid the potential price spikes.