With a gallon of milk costing as much as or more than a gallon of gasoline this summer, a consumer scanning the supermarket shelves might think the situation is a cash cow for dairy farmers.

In reality, it isn’t. As the price of milk hovers around $4 a gallon, dairy farmers nationwide still are struggling with the aftermath of what’s dubbed the Great Dairy Recession

While milk prices have rebounded since 2009, feed prices have stayed high, and farmers now are just breaking even, though many of them remain heavily in debt.

The debate comes as Congress gears up its debt-reducing “supercommittee” compelled to cut billions in federal programs, potentially affecting dairy subsidies. The outcome of any new policy, meanwhile, could affect not only those who milk cows and process dairy products, but consumers’ costs as well