'Milk Cliff' Looms in Fiscal Cliff Deal

Updated: 12/18/2012 7:49 PM KSTP.com By: Chris Egert

How do you feel about paying $6 for a gallon of milk?

That's the figure being tossed around tonight - if Congress doesn't take action on the fiscal cliff.

Milk is $2.80 a gallon at Hastings co-op and creamery, and people were picking it up Tuesday afternoon at a steady pace.

Can you imagine paying twice that much?

One shopper gasped, "Milk?  Oh my God, I don't know if would pay that - would just have to start drinking water."

Shopper Karen Swanson admitted that at 6 bucks, she’d have to make cuts elsewhere, “Oh certainly … certainly ... I'd figure something out."

Why - why are we talking 6 bucks a gallon for milk -- something else to blame on the fiscal cliff. 

If there's a deal struck by the end of the year, several lawmakers - including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar - want the farm bill also thrown in.

It passed the Senate in June, but hasn't made it in the House.

If the farm bill isn't passed – some believe it could revert the milk pricing system to how it was set up back in 1949.

Hastings co-op General Manager David Zwart say milk that expensive is very unlikely -- telling us, “I highly doubt it."

Zwart thinks regardless of what some are saying, $6 a gallon is unrealistic from futures data he looks at. “There's going to be some crazy things that would have to happen," Zwart said. "And I don't see that ... the wheels falling off the bus with regards to milk prices."

At the Hastings co-op they say their biggest fear - really isn't the fiscal cliff or the milk cliff - it's the drought.   If we don't see some significant moisture this winter and spring, they say it is entirely realistic that you could be paying $4 or $5 for a gallon of milk.