While debates over federal legislation have revolved mostly around defense cuts, reductions in social programs, and the soon-to-be-expired Bush tax cuts, the price of dairy has not been a hot topic.

But the price of milk could soon rise precipitously, in fact doubling if no legislative action is soon taken, reported CNN.

The farm bill, which sets agricultural and other food policy, expired last summer, and on Jan. 1 the dairy subsidy will also expire if new legislation isn't enacted or the former law extended.

If nothing is done, government policy will revert to a 1949 statute, meaning that it will have to buy milk at double the current price -- which could mean $7 for a gallon of milk, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told Candy Crowley of CNN.

"We call it the dairy cliff," a spokesperson for the National Milk Producers Federation told CNN, because high prices would likely push many to drastically cut back on milk, cheese, and other milk products.

[Image: Milk carton via Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock]