The “dairy cliff” approaches

The House and Senate are still bickering over a five-year, $500 million farm subsidy measure. But if they do not come to an agreement by December 31st, things would revert back to a pricing system from the 1930s.

What does that mean for you and I? It means we may have to pay a lot more for dairy products – think $7 for a gallon of milk. And it's not just milk – it's cheese, and yogurt, and ice cream.

Araceli Chavez of Escondido has five children to feed. Her daughter Beatrice explains how the possible dairy price increase would affect their family.

“She doesn't think it's fair. It's barely affordable to buy now, imagine if it goes up, not many families are going to be able to afford to buy milk.”

Casey Anderson of the San Diego County Farm Bureau hopes lawmakers pay attention now – and act. “There's a consequence, a hammer hung over the heads of Congress, where before the farm bill was extended for a year, this puts them up against a deadline.”

For 24 years, Mounir Samaan has been making pies at his shop, Pizza Amore in Escondido. Cheese is his bread and butter.

“Of course, of course, I depend on the cheese! Spend one thousand to twelve hundred dollars a week on the cheese!”

Samaan guesses he'd have to double the price of his pizzas. His business is good now, but he's worried about his customers.

“I love cheese and I love to put milk in my cereal, but this is real life and we're gonna have to pay what it costs to produce our food.”

“I think a lot of people who have small businesses are going to close their doors and stay home, and the government will have to support them.”

The food stamps program is apparently the biggest sticking point as the House and Senate head into negotiations. The House wants to cut 5%, the Senate wants to cut much less.

Let's hope they find a happy medium for all of us.


Kristen Cusato

Categories: KUSI