Agricultural committees agree to extend Farm Bill; bill awaits House vote

Farm Bill extension would likely avert steep dairy prices increases.

The House and Senate Agriculture committees agreed to extend for one year the 2008 farm bill. The bill expired in October 2012.

House leaders had not yet agreed to put the bill, which includes disaster assistance for farmers affected by drought, on the floor as of 11:30 a.m. CST on December 31.

The House GOP also is considering two additional extension bills — a one-month extension and a yet smaller bill extending dairy policy that expires January 1, 2013.

Dairy programs expiring could equate to an increase in retail prices within a few weeks. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Americans could possibly be paying $7 for a gallon of milk if the dairy program expired and the government returns to a 1948 formula for calculating milk price supports.