Local News

December 30, 2012

'Dairy cliff' could spell trouble for locals



Conroy’s Organics owner Mary Bushey said that, for example, if prices from Hood — one of the store’s dairy suppliers — increase, she won’t have a choice other than to increase her prices.

“We try to mitigate that somewhat because we have a lot of people who come into the store for their staples …. We do try to keep our prices competitive and as low as possible. But as with any business, we need to make a profit,” she said.

It won’t just be the price for a carton of milk that is affected, either.

Bushey said most milk is consumed in the processed form, so the price for cheese, ice cream and any other product that uses whey will be affected. Bushey said Hood, nor any of the store’s other dairy suppliers, have offered what a potential price increase could be.

“I think everyone is just waiting and watching and hoping for the best,” she said.

While dairy prices, and the subsequent surpluses of milk, are the most talked about portion of the “dairy cliff,” produce farmers could take a hit, too.

Bushey said that during the summer she tries to fill the store with as much local produce as possible.

But cuts to funding and tax relief could create problems.

She said she would like to see anything that helps in terms of tax relief or subsidies to help pay workers.

“Some assistance there is always helpful,” she said. “Labor is a big part of the cost of the foods that we eat.”

Regardless of how a new bill or extension would help, Dimock said he is hopeful that something will be passed by Tuesday. 

In the meantime, contacting representatives may be the last ditch option for people who want to see an agreement.

“Maybe people could write a letter to their congressmen to tell them to get off their stick and help some people,” Bushey said.

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