COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - A gallon of milk could skyrocket to at least $6 a gallon, if Congress doesn't reach an agreement, before the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Coopersville dairy farmer Merle Langeland is calling on Congress to take action.
"I get up seven days a week because I have a job to do, and the cows behind me expect me to do my job, and I feel the same way about our lawmakers," says Langeland.
The farm law currently in place includes milk rates -- the minimum amount companies pay farmers for their milk. The rates are set by the government. Without new agriculture legislation, rates would return to ligher levels not seen since the 1930s.
Currently, companies buy 100 pounds of milk (the way they measure it) for $20, but if the farm bill expires, the rate would increase to 100 pounds for $50. Experts say those companies would be forced to pass the extra cost onto the consumer, meaning at least $6 per gallon of milk.
"I would be concerned that consumers would shy away from dairy products and use the alternatives," says Langeland.
Langeland produces about 50,000 pounds of milk in one day. In the short term, he could see a financial boost if prices rise. In the long term, though,he says it would hurt business.
"Overthe long haul it would be a bad thing," says Langeland. "When you get a disruption in the market like that, usually we come out on the short end."
Langeland says the farming business is stable right now, and he'd like it to stay that way. Ultimately, he wants the government to stop tampering with milk rates.
"I don't think the government is doing us that much of a favor," says Langeland.