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Deal reached on farm bill

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 8:40 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Leaders on the Senate and House Agriculture committees announced a deal on Sunday to extend the 2008 farm bill by a year, an agreement that could avoid a surge in market prices for milk and other commodities.

The measure, which has to be approved by votes in both chambers of Congress, would give lawmakers another year to iron out a deal. The 2008 farm bill expired on Sept. 30, but a failure to have a law in place would have its biggest impact on the agricultural sector next year, beginning with milk.

Dairy subsidies under the 2008 farm bill expire on Monday, and without a bill in place, prices paid by the government to farmers would revert to 1949 levels. Economists have warned that the price consumers pay for milk could double as a result. Wheat and other commodities would be affected later in 2013.

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