With the threat of sky-rocketing milk prices driving consumer and retails concerns, some milk fans are making it clear – they will be happy to pay the price if farmers actually benefit from it.

“If the farmer got the money, I wouldn’t mind.” Shopper Joy Brown said after completing a shopping trip at a Hannaford, N.Y., grocery store, where milk costs between $3.19 and $3.59 per gallon, depending on the brand.  

“But the farmer doesn’t get the money,” Brown stressed. “The middleman does.”

According to a report by The (N.Y.) Daily Star, consumers are responding to Senator Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., warning that milk prices could double in January if the House of Representatives don’t pass the farm bill soon. The 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sunday.  Congress is expected to return to Capitol Hill after the November elections, but the pending 2012 Farm Bill, which contains a new and improved safety net for dairy farmers, remains in limbo.

Other grocery customers echoed Brown’s opinion, agreeing that if farmers were to get more, they would be willing to pay more for dairy products.

“I just think we need to help the farmers,” Stever Fournier told The Daily Star reporter. “Those are the guys who are hurting, not the middlemen and all those people. I’m more concerned with the farmer, and honestly I’d be willing to pay a little more for milk if it was going to the farmers and helping them.”

The price increase could make it more difficult for some customers to keep up with their household demands for milk, but none of those interviewed by The Daily Star expressed interested in milk alternatives. Read more from The Daily Star here.

Though some consumers may be willing to spend more for a gallon of milk, milk consumption per capita has been declining steadily since the 1970s, dropping from 29.8 gallons of per capita fluid milk sales to 20.04 gallons last year.  Consumption is close to falling below a key threshold. Click here to read more.