Montana residents, businesses glad dairy cliff averted

GALLATIN COUNTY

POSTED: 11:03 PM Jan 02 2013
Montana residents, businesses glad dairy cliff averted
BELGRADE, Mont. -

When asked about how much milk his family goes through, Belgrade resident Joe Thomas said "about two gallons a week."

People like Thomas go through a lot of milk. It's a household staple. In fact on Wednesday, it's the sole reason he was at the grocery store.

But the dairy product most don't think twice about buying has gotten a lot of attention lately, because of the so-called dairy cliff.

The farm bill was set to expire unless Congress signed an extension. There were fears milk prices would skyrocket.

"Most of the drinks that we make have milk- latte, cappuccino" said Stephanie Wiliams, a barista at Cafe M in Belgrade.

She said the coffee shop would have had no choice but to up their drink prices.
"That's a big thing for us" she said.

Luckily, it looks like they won't have to resort to that. Party leaders on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have agreed to a one-year extension of the expired farm bill.

At Lee and Dad's IGA in Belgrade, a gallon of milk cost $3.39. But if Congress didn't sign that extension, that price would have gone up to 7 or 8 dollars a gallon.

Customers said they probably would have bitten the bullet if prices doubled.

"My kids probably drink it so I would probably still buy it" Thomas said.

Belgrade resident Dan Neely said he thinks milk is expensive as it is, but the way he looks at it- "You just go, okay do I want it or not? Okay, I want it. I want it on my cereal."

Williams said she's glad Congress acted.

"It's a brand new year, so I'm sure something else will come for us to worry about" she said. "But we're glad this one's done."