Monthly Archives: November 2012

New NWF Kids’s Magazine and Special Offer for Affiliates

For the first time in Ranger Rick’s 50-year history, beginning readers (ages 4 to 7) can enjoy a Ranger Rick magazine designed specifically for their interests and reading skills. Called Ranger Rick Jr., the new National Wildlife Federation publication uses eye-catching photos and simple, easy-to-follow text to introduce young children to the amazing world of animals.

To mark the debut of Ranger Rick Jr.—and to thank you for your long-time support of NWF’s children’s magazines (e.g., sharing copies at events, promoting content via social media, etc.)—we’d like to extend a special offer:

From now until January 15, 2013, NWF affiliate staff, volunteers and members may subscribe to Ranger Rick (ages 7 to 12) or Ranger Rick Jr. for $12—40% off the regular subscription rate ($19.95) and 70% off the newsstand price ($3.99/issue).

To access this special offer (or share it with your colleagues and members), please use this link:

            Related Resources:

Ranger Rick Jr. press release

Ranger Rick Jr. website

Ranger Rick website

Cover image of Ranger Rick Jr.

Cover image of Ranger Rick

If you have any questions about this offer, please feel free to reach out to Kelly at[email protected].

Sportsman’s Act Still Alive says KeepAmericaFishing

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 may yet again come up for vote in the U.S. Senate as members are working hard to craft a solution to the procedural problem that stopped the bill from passing the Senate. A diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations is working hard to support this effort and eventual passage, but time is running out.

On November 26, in a surprise upset, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). After months of discussion with Senate members by a large and diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations who worked to create a historic bill containing 17 key provisions for anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation; the bill failed to pass over a party line vote on a procedural motion.

You can still make an impact and KeepAmericaFishing™ provides an easy way to send an effective message to Senate members. We need everyone’s support to help pass this essential piece of legislation.

This link, takes you to a Take Action Now page.

Please help us convince the Senate to bring this bill back to the floor and vote YES for fish and wildlife conservation!

GOP stops Sportsmen’s bill on budget violation

by Ramsey Cox

Republicans stopped Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) Sportsmen’s Act dead in its tracks Monday evening.

The Sportsmen’s Act, S. 3525, would have increased access to federal land for hunters and fishermen, while also supporting conservation measures, but Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) raised a budget point of order, saying Tester’s bill violated the Budget Control Act.

Democrats tried to waive the budget point of order, but the motion failed on a 50-44 vote – 60 votes were needed.

The Sportsmen’s Act combined more than a dozen bipartisan bills aimed at expanding access to federal land for hunters and fishermen. Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said he supports most of the Sportsmen’s bill, but said it contains Democratic language that appropriates new money, and urged his colleagues not to support it for that reason.

S. 3525 would have required $14 million in new federal spending, and thus, Sessions said, violated the spending levels set in the Budget Control Act (BCA).

Only two senators didn’t vote with their party. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) voted against the budget waiver, while Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted for it.

Procedural Motion Stops Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 in Senate

In a surprise upset, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). After months of discussion with Senate members by a diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations to create a historic bill containing 17 key provisions for anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation, the bill failed to pass over a party line vote on a procedural motion.

“The shocking aspect of this bill’s defeat – one that would have such a positive impact on anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation – is that it occurred over a budget argument giving the Secretary of the Interior the ability to increase the duck stamp price $10, thus pumping more dollars into wetland conservation for both fisheries and wildlife benefits” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

“Adding salt to the wound is that the increase is strongly supported by waterfowl hunters who champion the user pay-user benefit concept for fish and wildlife conservation along with all sportsmen and women as well as the fishing and hunting industries,” said Robertson. “The Congressional Budget Office has stated that overall, S. 3525 would reduce the nation’s deficit by $5 million.”

“It’s a cruel twist that the Senate failed to move S. 3525 over a budget procedural question when in the end the bill adds to conservation and would most certainly have a positive impact on the nation’s economy,” said Robertson. “It would truly be a tragedy if this historic piece of legislation went down in flames due to partisanship and simmering disputes over Senate rules and procedures that have nothing to do with the merits of the bill.”

Robertson further noted, “Previous procedural votes advancing this legislation on the Senate floor have won more than 80 votes. ASA is urging Senate leaders to bring the focus back to fish and wildlife conservation and the needs of the nation’s 60 million sportsmen and women that are addressed in this historic legislative package. We’ve come this far because we’ve kept partisan politics away from this bill. We need to get back on that course.”

With just a few legislative days remaining in the lame duck Congress, it will be a challenge to resurrect S. 3525. The bill ran into trouble when a point of order was raised about whether the bill violated a 2011 budget agreement and a motion to waive the point of order failed by 10 votes. Budget related disputes are not uncommon when large pieces of legislation come to the Senate floor. It is however very uncommon for a budget point of order challenging a provision that would modestly increase revenues to sink a bill. Six senators were not present and the vote on the procedural motion to waive the point of order fell along party lines with the exception of two senators. To see how your Senator(s) voted, please visit the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 page on KeepAmericaFishing™.

“The American Sportfishing Association and the members of the coalition stand ready to work with Senate and House members to find a solution that enables passage of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 before Congress adjourns,” Robertson concluded. “It will take a lot of effort, but we remain hopeful. This historic package of bipartisan bills was crafted and advanced through Congress thanks to bipartisanship. It is not too late for our Senators to put aside the partisanship that caused the bill to fail and pull this bill from the flames, but they must act quickly.”

Kansas Deer Hunters Aim to Feed Hungry

Hunters, meat processors, food banks provide meals to poor

During the 12-day Kansas firearm deer season, which opened Wednesday, Nov. 28, more than 50,000 deer may be harvested. In some areas of the state, hunters can obtain up to five whitetail antlerless deer permits, in addition to their either-sex permit. And while additional harvest helps stabilize and control the deer population, many hunters don’t want or need more than one or two deer in the freezer. That is where Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KSHFH) comes into the picture.

KSHFH is a nonprofit organization that is the conduit for hunters to donate deer and provide food for hungry Kansans. With the help of hunters, meat processors, and private donors, KSHFH annually provides thousands of meals to those in need. Just one deer can feed nearly 200 hungry people in the state. In 2011, 1,038 deer were donated through KSHFH, providing nearly 225,000 meals through 100 food banks across the state.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism makes supporting this program easy. When outdoorsmen and women buy licenses, permits, or stamps, they can donate $2 to fund the program, which the agency collects for KSHFH. Contributions from hunters, businesses, churches, sportsmen’s clubs, organizations and other foundations help KSHFH pay butchers to process, package and freeze the donated venison for distribution by local food pantries.

Volunteers help organize and coordinate the efforts of KSHFH in communities across the state by helping with fundraising, promotional gatherings, meat donation, meat distribution and much more.

KSHFH invites hunters to donate any legally harvested deer to one of the more than 40 participating meat processors around the state. To find one nearest you, go online to and click on “Lockers.” It’s always a good idea to call ahead before taking your deer to a processor. There is no cost to donate your deer as long as the KSHFH organization has sufficient funding to cover the processing expense. Donated game must be field dressed and legally tagged.

Kansas Wildlife Federation Calls for Nominations

Conservation Achievement Program award nomination deadline Dec. 15

You know someone who has volunteered countless hours towards a particular wildlife project or someone who has devoted themselves beyond normal expectations for conservation. It is important for conservationist to give credit to those who deserve it. It demonstrates that we hold these activities in high regard and gives some appreciated recognition to folks who work very hard for something they love. Do your part and consider those you work with or know who have performed beyond the call of duty, someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to Kansas’ wildlife. Let’s not let them go unrecognized for their dedication and sacrifices.

            CAP award categories include Land and Soil Conservation, Youth Conservationist, Conservation Communicator, Conservation Educator, Wildlife Conservationist, Water Conservationist, Conservation Legislator, Conservation Farmer/Rancher, Forestry Conservationist, Stream Team Conservationist, Outdoor Skills Instructor, Conservation Organization, and Conservationist of the Year. Awards will be presented at KWF’s annual banquet, which is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2013 in Emporia.

Please make an effort to identify folks who have made special efforts for wildlife in 2012. Those who have received Conservation Achievement Program (CAP) awards in the past can attest to the pride they felt in being bestowed such a noteworthy recognition. Do your part and make certain we recognize those most deserving at the CAP banquet.

            To nominate someone simply e-mail a nomination of 2,000 words (more or less) to [email protected]. Make sure you put full contact information for yourself and the nominee, including mailing and e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Do it now!

             Thanks for your help with this very noteworthy program for wildlife conservation in KansasFor more information, phone 620-672-7289 or email [email protected]. Get your nominations to us by December 15.

Important 2012 Farm Bill Notice from KWF

Kansas Wildlife Federation members and friends- as you may know, Congress is facing a very tight time-line in order to get a 2012 Farm Bill passed during the lame-duck session currently ongoing. Other issues, such as the ‘fiscal cliff’, may take precedence. Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have passed their versions of the Farm Bill. The article below, ‘Narrow window’ for passing full farm bill in lame duck, outlines some of the issues involved.

Tthe House leadership needs to schedule a vote on the Committee’s version and have it pass. Then the two versions can go to a Senate/House conference committee where an acceptable bill can be hammered out. If this does not happen by the end of the year farm programs will start falling through the cracks and Congress will have to start over in 2013, with new hearings, mark-up bills, votes and conferences. We need to get a bill passed this year.

Kansas House delegates need to hear from KWF supporters. Please urge your representative to work for a vote on the Farm Bill by the entire House. Your representative needs to hear from you before Thanksgiving. We realize that this is short notice but any contact you can make you’re your representative will be greatly effective. At the end of this message is a listing of the offices and contact info for your Kansas Representative.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. Thank you for your support on the Farm Bill issue.

Steve Sorensen
Conservation Vice President
Kansas Wildlife Federation

Kansas Congressional Contacts


The office listed in bold is the

State/District office


First District

Representative Tim Huelskamp

126 Cannon House Office BuildingWashingtonD.C. 20515Phone: (202) 225-2715
Fax: (202) 225-5124


Dodge City Office

100 Military Ave.

, Ste 204

Dodge CityKS 67801

Phone: (620) 225-0172

Fax: (620) 225-0297

Hutchinson Office

One North Main

Ste 205

HutchinsonKS 67504

Phone: (620) 665-6138

Fax: (620) 665-6360

Salina Office

119 W. Iron Ave. 4th Floor Ste A
Salina, KS 67402
Phone: (785) 309-0572
Fax: (785) 827-6957

Second District

Representative Lynn Jenkins

1122 Longworth House Office Building

WashingtonD.C. 20515

Phone: (202) 225-6601

Fax: (202) 225-7986e-mail:

Topeka Office

3550 S.W. 5th Street
TopekaKS 66606

Phone: (785) 234-5966
Fax: (785) 234-5967

Pittsburg Office

1001 N. Broadway Street


PittsburgKS 66762

Phone (620) 231-5966

Fax (620) 231-5972

Third District

Representative Kevin Yoder

214 Cannon House Office BuildingWashingtonDC 20515Phone: (202) 225-2865
Fax: (202) 225-2807


Overland Park Office

7325 W. 79th St.
Overland ParkKS 66204

Phone:  (913) 621-0832
Fax:  (913) 621-1533


Fourth District

Representative Mike Pompeo

107 Cannon House Office Building

WashingtonDC 20515

Phone: (202) 225-6216

Fax: (202) 225-3489


Wichita Office

7701 E. Kellogg, 

Ste 510

WichitaKS 67207Phone: (316) 262-8992
Fax: (316) 262-5309

Nature Writers: Worthy of Our Thanks

by Andy and Tami McDaniels

Through the passionate wilderness writings of authors like Jaeger, Roosevelt, and Leopold, we have understood and felt the need to connect with the natural world. These writers, and many more like them, have inspired us to spend time in the great outdoors, become stewards of our environment, and contemplate our relationship with nature. They have taught us new outdoor techniques and provided us with information to improve upon tried and true methods. They have opened our minds to the possibility that the outdoors can motivate us to live better lives.

Given that November is a month of giving thanks, I thought it appropriate to take time to give thanks to a few of the writers who have given us books about the wild which have been inspirational and enlightening to all who have read them. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading a book by one of these authors, I hope what you read here will encourage you to do so.

Ellsworth Jaeger (1897-1962)

Perhaps not the most well-known of this category of writers, Ellsworth Jaeger was an editor, an author, and a curator of education at the Buffalo Science Museum. He wrote and illustrated seven books includingWildwood WisdomNature CraftsTracks and TrailcraftCouncil Fires, and Easy Crafts.

Jaeger traveled extensively throughout the wilderness areas of Canada, the United States and Mexico and dedicated his life to researching various Native American tribes, such as the Iroquois, Blackfoot, Apache,Pueblo, and Navajo. He was considered an authority on American Indian lore and camping.

The book jacket cover of Wildwood Wisdom includes a warning, “…the author’s enthusiasm for wildwood is so infectious that you will be lured away from suburb or city.” Indeed, you will be lured. It’s impossible to read this book without wanting to test some of the ideas and techniques in his 197 detailed illustrations. The comprehensive 491-page book, mainly addressed to campers, was originally published in 1945, and is not only a guide to every imaginable aspect of wilderness life, but also an enjoyable read and historical account of life in America in the 1800s.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Our twenty-sixth president was a historian, an author, a statesman, a hunter, an orator, a rancher, and a naturalist. Reading and writing were two of his favorite pastimes. He often read an entire book in one day, and he authored over 35 books on many different subjects including hunting and wilderness pursuits. One such book, A Book Lover’s Holiday in the Open, gives Roosevelt’s advice about how man can get in touch with the natural world. Crack open the cover of the 1916 edition, and you will read:

The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of present travel. He can see the red splendor of desert sunsets and the unearthly glory of the afterglow on the battlements of desolate mountains. In sapphire gulfs of ocean he can visit islets, above which the wings of myriads of sea-fowl make a kind of shifting cuneiform script in the air. He can ride along the brink of the stupendous cliff-walled canyon, where eagles soar below him, and cougars make their lairs on the ledges and harry the big-horned sheep. He can journey through the northern forests, the home of the giant moose, the forests of fragrant and murmuring life in summer, the iron-bound and melancholy forests of winter.

-Theodore Roosevelt, A Book Lover’s Holiday in the Open

This autobiographical collection of stories encourages us to step outside our comfort zone and discover the majesty of the outdoors. Each chapter describes a unique wilderness adventure, such as a cougar hunt, crossing the Navajo Desert, and a “curious experience” at a private game reserve in Quebec.

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)

Aldo Leopold was an author, an ecologist, a forester, a scientist, and an environmentalist. He is acknowledged by many as the father of wildlife ecology. His book A Sand County Almanac is a classic of nature writing, cited as one of the most influential nature books ever published.

Leopold utilizes A Sand County Almanac and its call for a Land Ethic, a seminal work of the modern environmentalist movement, to articulate the true connection between people and the natural world, with the hope that the readers will begin to treat the land with the love and respect it deserves. (The Aldo Leopold Foundation)

There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.

-Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Each of the authors gave us a gift when they took time to share their love and knowledge of nature with us. Not just those that I’ve highlighted, but all the men and women that dedicate their lives to writing about the natural world are truly worthy of thanks.

You can find the above mentioned books at retailers that sell new, used, and collectible books, likeAbeBooks. The holiday season is a perfect time to catch up on reading and share your favorite books with others. What could be a better gift to give someone special than a gift that sparks a passion for the outdoors? 

Urge YES Vote on Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525)

The Senate last Thursday was unable to unanimously agree to waive certain procedural rules to allow a vote on the widely supported, bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525), the most important package of measures for the benefit of sportsmen in a generation.

It was on late Thursday afternoon, The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) learned that the expected vote on the Sportsmen’s Act would not take place. The Senate is now expected to vote on S.3525 on Nov. 26 after Senators return from the Thanksgiving recess and after one more procedural vote.

The NSSF remains optimistic that with continued support from hunters, target shooters, gun owners and sportsmen the bill will get a vote on Monday, Nov. 26 and pass the Senate by a large bipartisan margin.

Your phone calls and emails will make a difference and are appreciated. Be ready on November 26 to call your U.S.senators to ask them to vote YES on the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, S.3525.

This historic legislation includes the firearms industry’s top legislative priority, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S. 838) that would clarify that ammunition is excluded from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Anti-hunting groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity are suing the EPA to force a ban on traditional ammunition made with lead components that would devastate hunting and shooting sports participation, drive up ammunition prices by almost 200 percent on average and dry up conservation funding.

No less than 46 of the nation’s leading sportsmen and conservation groups including the NRA, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, American Sportfishing Association, the International Game Fish Association, the Center for Coastal Conservation, and the Boone and Crockett Club are championing S. 3525. This bipartisan legislation is strongly supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The Sportsmen’s Act is a package of 19 separate bills — the majority of sportsmen’s legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. (See below for an overview of the components of the bill.) A similar package of bills–the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089)–was passed by the House in the spring by a bipartisan vote of 276 to 146. Passage of this pro-sportsmen’s legislation will promote, protect and preserve our nation’s hunting, shooting and conservation heritage for generations to come.

Your voice must be heard! As you read this, anti-hunting forces are working to defeat S. 3525. So act now, call your U.S.Senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to vote YES for the bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2012.

Sportsmen’s Priorities in the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012

The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act: Specifically excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act, preventing unnecessary regulations that could devastate hunting, shooting, conservation funding and the firearm and ammunition industries.

Making Public Lands Public: Requires that the 1.5 percent of annual Land and Water Conservation Fund funding is made available to secure public access to federal public land for hunting, fishing, and other recreational purposes.

Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act: Makes Pittman-Robertson funds available to states for a longer period of time for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges. The bill encourages federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges and limits liability for these agencies.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to urge your senators to SUPPORT the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. To send an email or a letter to your U.S. senators click here.

Find complete contact information for your elected officials here.

Important 2012 Farm Bill Notice

Important 2012 Farm Bill Notice

KWF members and friends- as you may know, Congress is facing a very tight time-line in order to get a 2012 Farm Bill passed during the lame-duck session currently ongoing. Other issues, such as the ‘fiscal cliff’, may take precedence. Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have passed their versions of the Farm Bill. The article below outlines some of the issues involved.

Tthe House leadership needs to schedule a vote on the Committee’s version and have it pass. Then the two versions can go to a Senate/House conference committee where an acceptable bill can be hammered out. If this does not happen by the end of the year farm programs will start falling through the cracks and Congress will have to start over in 2013, with new hearings, mark-up bills, votes and conferences. We need to get a bill passed this year.

Kansas House delegates need to hear from KWF supporters. Please urge your representative to work for a vote on the Farm Bill by the entire House. Your representative needs to hear from you before Thanksgiving. We realize that this is short notice but any contact you can make you’re your representative will be greatly effective.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

‘Narrow window’ for passing full farm bill in lame duck

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The window is rapidly closing for passing a five-year farm bill before the end of the year.

While theoretically it’s still possible for the House to pass the bill and for it to reach the president’s desk before the end of the year, chances are looking increasingly unlikely as attention is turned to the “fiscal cliff” in the lame-duck session of Congress, which kicked off Tuesday. Agricultural observers and top farm-state lawmakers say they have yet to hear any signal from House leadership on a path forward.

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said this week that he thinks something will happen but gave passage of a full bill low odds.

“There’s a very narrow window,” Roberts said. “It’s like that church window when you were sitting at the back, a little tired of the sermon, and you folded up your church bulletin into a paper airplane” and tried to get it through while a fan was blowing in the background.

In June, the Senate passed its version of the farm bill, a 1,000-page piece of legislation that would cost $970 billion and cut $23 billion from agricultural and nutrition programs over the next decade. The House Agriculture Committee passed its version in July, which would cut $35 billion, but the bill has been stalled on the House floor since.

House GOP leaders have been silent on the bill so far in the lame duck. Before the election recess, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he did not have enough votes because of divisions over food stamps, which make up about 80 percent of expenditures in the bill.

Disagreements over whether farm subsidies should pay producers when prices drop below a certain level have also divided House and Senate lawmakers with rural constituencies.

The two bills are relatively similar in their funding of rural conservation programs, including those that pay farmers to restore wildlife habitat and wetlands. The bills also both include rural energy programs, but the Senate bill provides $800 million in mandatory funding, while the House provides only discretionary funds subject to the whims of congressional appropriators.

If Congress does not pass the full farm bill on its own, there are a few routes it can take.

One is to do nothing, which has been the case since the old farm bill expired Sept. 30, and let programs run out of funding and authorizations. Under permanent law, antiquated farm policies from 1938 and 1949 would kick in and replace existing programs in 2013.

Just about everybody agrees that would be a disaster. Under those laws, for example, the government would be forced to provide $38-a-gallon price supports to milk producers beginning Jan. 1.

It would also set in motion a system of supply-side management when farmers begin planting in mid- to late April. The government would have to revert to setting yields for commodities and buying up surpluses in the market. Conservation and energy programs — several of which are not currently accepting new enrollments — would continue to be stalled.

The farm bills passed every five or so years by Congress typically prevent this from happening by suspending the provisions from the 1938 and 1949 legislation.

Most leaders in the agriculture industry agree there is slim chance of this scenario happening. But Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, this week said he plans to use the threat of $38 milk to keep lawmakers focused on the bill during the lame duck.

“I want to keep the pressure on,” Peterson said.

Another option should Congress fail to complete a five-year bill would be to pass a three-month, six-month or yearlong extension of the 2008 farm bill with some changes, including the reauthorization of expired disaster assistance programs to help livestock producers hurt by the drought.

Before the election recess, House leaders tried to bring a one-year extension to the floor that dipped into conservation programs and direct farmer payments to offset the costs. They pulled the bill, though, when it became clear there weren’t enough votes.

This time around, though, an extension is looking more likely.

“We believe that the best solution going forward is to pass a five-year farm bill now. But let’s be honest and clear that there are a maximum of four weeks available to do that,” said Ferd Hoefner, policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “You would need a week for the House floor action, you’d need a good 10 days, if not two weeks, for a very, very speedy farm bill conference, and then another week to get the conference reports to the floor.”

An extension would have to include a suspension of the permanent law provisions as well as funding for programs that lost their baseline funding Sept. 30, said Craig Jagger of Legis Consulting LLC, a former House Agriculture Committee staffer. These programs, which include a few conservation programs and several energy measures, would have to be offset elsewhere in the bill and would dip into money that’s available for writing a farm bill next year.

But it is still up in the air whether the House will even be able to pass an extension. Peterson on Tuesday vowed to fight an extension “to the death” and complained that GOP leaders haven’t talked to him at all lately about the farm bill.

“I’ve been trying to be optimistic, a good soldier — I’ve about had it,” said Peterson, who led the Agriculture Committee last Congress. “If it takes turning the Ag Committee into a partisan deal to get this done, I’ll do it, by opposing the extension. I’ll oppose the bill. This will not make it easy for them to get this done next year, I guarantee it. I am not going to be that easy to get along with.”

Senators cool to an extension

It’s even unclear what would happen to an extension in the Senate. Roberts, who has worked closely with Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on the Senate version of the bill, said this week that he was opposed to an extension.

“An extension has all sorts of problems with it, and if we’re having problems now, why do they change as of next year?” Roberts said. “They don’t, and it gets even worse. You will probably have … a higher hurdle in regard to our expenditures and what we have to cut as far as deficit reduction next year than this year.”

An extension would likely bring work on the legislation past March of next year, when the Congressional Budget Office is due to release its next baseline figures for the farm bill, which help determine how much money will be available going forward. It is difficult to predict what CBO will say, but it likely won’t be good news.

“I don’t hold up much hope that Congress will come back and say we have more money,” said Dale Moore, deputy executive director for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We really don’t expect the numbers to improve.”

Some conservative Republicans are calling on Congress to split the nutrition assistance section off from the rest of the bill, which would significantly reduce its size, but Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said yesterday he was “not sure we have the votes” for such an action.

Few other options remain for passing the bill in the lame duck. One is to attach it to another piece of legislation moving in the session. Senate agriculture leaders may also try to offer it up for cutting the deficit in the upcoming fiscal debate, but that is unlikely.

Yet the farming community is remaining optimistic.

“They will get something done. There’s a 100 percent chance of that,” Moore said. “But there’s only about a 15 percent chance that that something will be a new five-year farm bill. We’re holding out hope.”

Reporter John McArdle contributed.