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Local ice cream maker calls talk of milk prices doubling hype

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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If American falls off the fiscal cliff, the price of a basic staple could skyrocket. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is warning that if Congress fails to avoid the cliff, the price of milk in New York could double. But one local ice cream maker calls the talk "hype."

"Nine times out of ten, anybody that knows the facts behind any of these types of things, know that it's  99% hype and 1% truth," said Brian Perry, executive  vice president & vice chairman of Perry's Ice Cream in Akron.

Perry spoke with WBFO News shortly after a conference call with the International Dairy Foods Association, a lobbying group in Washington that represents processors that use milk.

A 2008 dairy law expired in September.  Senator Schumer says if Congress fails to act on a budget, a former dairy law from the 1940's will go into effect January 1, 2013 and the price of milk could rise to about $6.00 a gallon. 

But Perry is optimistic the situation will be resolved.

"The easiest thing they can do -- they could do an extension on this for any period of time," said Perry.  "Even the Secretary of Agriculture has some power to override certain things too, so it isn't so gloom and doom as they try to make it out in New York."

Perry admits if nothing is accomplished the high price of milk would indeed affect the production of ice cream. However, he says he's not making alternate plans at this time.

"How would you handle something like that?" said Perry "At this point,  you know it is something the industry has never seen before. probably wait and see what really happens before we jump through a lot of hoops to change things and then if they revert it back in a day, then you've got to go and retrieve everything."

Perry said the entire situation for the future of milk remains "obscure."