Shoppers in the dairy isle may be milked for a little more money in the New Year.
As Congress tries to pull the country back from the fiscal cliff, action on the Federal Farm Bill has been put on the back burner and time is running out to prevent milk prices from nearly doubling.
At Manco & Manco in Ocean City, management predicts a damaging domino effect should the price of milk rise.
"It's a little worrisome, absolutely. If prices are going to go up, cheese prices is going to go up. It's going to cost us more, which in turn may cause us to raise our prices this upcoming summer," said Manco & Manco manager Chris Mazzitelli.
Customers in Manco & Manco are not ready to give up milk completely but realize they may need to make sacrifices should prices rise.
"If you have milk, that has to be bought by people, you have to get that milk. There are certain staples that you're going to have to put the money out for but some of the discretionary income you use for eating out, there's going to be an impact on," said Manco & Manco customer Ken Ross.
Analysts say the average price of milk will rise from the national average of $3.60 to over eight dollars per gallon.
Management at Tilton Market in Northfield says the potential price hike will hurt sales in the dairy isle and in the deli.
"It's going to affect the price on everything on that end of the store and people are going to scarce away from buying milk products and things like that. Things are just going to slow up," said Tilton Market co-owner Mike Senese.
At Tilton Market, management may be forced to purchase fewer products should prices rise. The result would be shelves stocked with half the amount of cheese, milk and other diary products.
While higher prices await customers in 2013 should Congress fail to act, shoppers at Tilton Market are left with the frustration of more costly visits to the supermarket
"Everything with the government to me is terrible right now, really. Especially with so many things going on its just one more thing to be upset about" said Tilton Market customer Corinne Sparenberg.
Congress has until December 31st to address the Farm Bill and prevent milk prices from rising.