Daily Archives: June 9, 2013

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Ban Traditional Ammunition

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition filed by a number of groups to ban the use of lead ammunition.  The 2010 denial was based on the simple fact that the EPA does not have the legal authority under the Toxic Substance Control Act to ban or regulate ammunition.

As reported in 2010, this is not an accident. When TSCA was passed in 1976, pro-gun legislators led by the late Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho) added language to the bill specifically exempting ammunition from EPA control. They knew, even then, that radical anti-hunting groups could try to use the law to end hunting and recreational shooting by making ammo too expensive. Their foresight has now provided an invaluable protection against the effort to ban traditional lead ammunition.

But you can never count on radicals to stop just because they have been beaten. The EPA has also previously denied their petition to ban the use of lead fishing sinkers, and when they sued to force the EPA to impose an ammunition ban, a federal court ruled that the suit had been filed too late.

Last year, CBD filed a new petition that was just slightly different than the original, only changing the language to specifically target ammunition used in hunting or recreational shooting so that it would not apply to law enforcement or the military.

This week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed that lawsuit. The suit sought to force the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the manufacture, processing, and distribution of lead-based ammunition and was brought in an attempt to overturn the EPA’s previous denials.

The NRA, Safari Club International, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation each intervened in the case to defend the rights and interests of hunters, competitive shooters, and others with firearms-related interests.

Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed CBD’s lawsuit, finding that CBD’s current petition was nothing more than an attempt to seek reconsideration of their previous petition, which the EPA had denied. Judge Sullivan also indicated that he would defer to EPA’s determination that the agency was not congressionally authorized to regulate lead-based ammunition.

By ruling on procedural grounds, Judge Sullivan was not required to address CBD’s flawed legal argument in his ruling. CBD claimed that the Toxic Substances Control Act provides EPA with the authority to ban lead-based ammunition, notwithstanding that the law has an exclusion that puts “shells and cartridges” outside its regulatory scope. CBD contended, strangely, that bullets and shot are not within the exception for “shells and cartridges,” notwithstanding the very obvious fact that shells and cartridges are where bullets and shot are found.

The CBD is unlikely to ever give up in its effort to ban lead ammunition, which means NRA and gun owners will have to remain vigilant to protect our rights in the future.

Before You Rescue

What you should know before helping your feathered friends

By George Harrison

Birds & Blooms

It’s only natural for people who care about birds to want to help them when they are injured or abandoned. Unfortunately, these good intentions aren’t always the best for our feathered friends.

By caring for needy wildlife, people often create a much greater problem for the animals they are trying to help. So before you take matters into your own hands, remember these few tips.

Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

People often make the mistake of assuming a lone baby bird (like the eastern bluebird, above) has been abandoned and needs help. This usually involves a fledgling, found alone on the ground or in a shrub, begging for food. It has its mouth open and is flapping its wings, but there are no parents in sight.

It’s logical to think the baby bird is lost or abandoned. But this is rarely the case. Chances are, the parents know where the fledgling is, but they are hiding to keep from drawing attention to their offspring. If the parents are not nearby, they might be off gathering food or feeding a sibling. Rest assured, the baby bird has not been forgotten. Any fledgling that calls for food (like the young eastern kingbird, above right) will be heard and cared for.

Sometimes an infant bird (also known as a nestling) gets out of its nest before it is old enough to fly. When this happens, the best thing you can do is simply place the baby back into its nest.

Now one of the great birding myths claims if you do this, the parents will then reject the baby. This is not true! Birds have a poor sense of smell, so putting the nestling back in its nest is fine.

If an entire nest falls out of a tree or shrub and the young or eggs are still in it, secure it to a location as close to its original position as possible. There is a good chance the parent birds will accept it, especially if the young are still there.

The same is true of larger birds such as hawks and owls, but in this case, it’s best to leave the birds alone altogether. Raptors may pose a danger to humans who attempt to handle them. Even the babies have sharp talons and beaks that can cause serious injury.

Home Remedy

An injured or sick bird is another matter. Our natural instinct and compassion tells us to help a suffering animal, so many people want to take an ill bird home, confine it to a cozy box or cage and attempt to cure it. But by taking a sick or injured bird into captivity, a well-meaning person is violating federal and state laws. It is illegal to keep native species in captivity or disturb them in any way, even those that are sick and injured.

Besides, caring for wildlife requires extensive knowledge in wildlife nutrition and natural history. If it has a broken wing or leg, only a licensed rehabilitator should treat it.

Further, if a bird is sick, it’s nearly impossible to know why. It could be the West Nile virus, pesticide poisoning or a number of other things. Treatment by a layperson almost always ends with the death of the animal. The stress of capture by humans is usually too much for the ill animal to handle.

When you find a sick or injured bird, the best option is to leave it alone. If necessary, you can call a local wildlife rehabilitation center, which often operate through local humane societies or nature centers.

Another rescue challenge arises when a bird hits a window, stunning it or knocking it unconscious. The best care to give a bird that is stunned is to leave it where it falls, and cover it with a colander or large sieve. This will contain the bird and protect it from predators. It should recover within 20 or 30 minutes, and then you can release it.

Overall, the first year of life is difficult for young birds, but the best thing you can do is let nature take its course. So use your good intentions to build a birdhouse or fill a feeder, and then sit back and watch your feathered friends do the rest.

Kansas-Lower Republican Basin Advisory Committee to Hold Meeting in Manhattan

June 12, 10:00 a.m. at the Manhattan Fire Department

The Kansas Water Office‘s (KWO) Kansas-Lower Republican Basin Advisory Committee (BAC) will hold a meeting to discuss current water issues affecting the basin area as well as the state.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. at the Manhattan Fire Department, 2000 Denison in ManhattanKS. The State Water Plan update, membership recommendations, the ongoing drought and reservoir conditions will be the main focus of the meeting.

The agenda and meeting materials are available at: www.kwo.org or you may request copies by calling (785) 296-3185 or toll-free at (888) KAN-WATER (526-9283).

            If accommodations are needed for a person with disabilities, please notify the Kansas Water Office at 

901 S. Kansas Ave.TopekaKS 66612

-1249 or call (785) 296-3185 at least five working days prior to the meeting.

NSSF Study Shows Lower-than-expected Rates of Hunting Among Recent

by Southwick Associates

            Filled classrooms at Hunter Safety courses are a good thing, but perhaps more important is the number of students that actually participate in hunting after they graduate. A recent survey, funded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and conducted by Southwick Associates, focused on participation levels of students in the years immediately following their graduation from hunter education class. The survey revealed that a significant percentage of hunter education students do not buy a license after graduating.

Twelve state wildlife agencies supplied data for the survey, which profiled the subsequent hunting license buying habits of hunter education graduates from 2006-2011.

            Just 67.7 % of graduates over the six-year period purchased at least one license.

While some graduates took hunter education with no intention of hunting, others needed assistance to make the leap to become an avid hunter.

After six years, only 44 % of graduates still bought licenses.

Graduates from highly urbanized areas showed the greatest dropout rates indicating a greater need for intervention efforts.

People graduating in warmer months represented the greatest percentage of graduates who never purchased a license.

In most states, graduates between the ages of 16 to 24 were less likely to buy a license six years after graduating, which showed the transient nature of young people.  This held true for college students and those in the military.

“This shows us that simply encouraging people to obtain their hunter safety certificate is not enough,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts surveys such as HunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.com, and AnglerSurvey.com. “The hunting community needs ways to encourage new graduates to buy a license and go hunting. Whether that means more programs for state agencies to get people out hunting, private industry intervention, or simply more hunters taking their neighbor’s kid into the woods, remains to be seen. “

It is the belief of the NSSF that the results from this study will help the hunting community determine where intervention is needed to maintain hunting participation among newer hunters.

The full results from the survey can be seen in greater depth at click here.

Senate passes WRDA in decisive 83-14 vote

Annie Snider

E&E reporter

The Senate on May 15 accomplished what many experts had thought to be impossible, decisively clearing the first major bill authorizing new lock, dam, levee and environmental restoration in six years despite a ban on congressional earmarks.

The Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), which passed by a vote of 83-14, still faces an uphill battle in the House, where Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has been pressing forward with work on his own bill but has made clear he is not comfortable with the Senate’s approach to avoiding earmarks. The Senate legislation automatically authorizes projects that meet a set of criteria; Shuster says that this essentially hands congressional authority to the Army Corps of Engineers to select which water resources projects should move forward.

It’s also unclear what the White House’s reaction to the bill will be. A Statement of Administration Policy last week stopped short of a veto threat but staunchly opposed the bill’s environmental streamlining provisions.

Moreover, while the Senate’s bill provides new authorizations, it does little to address the dearth of funding for water projects. There is currently a $60 billion backlog of authorized but unfunded Army Corps projects, and with the cap on the agency’s budget set by the 2011 Budget Control Act, that gap is only expected to grow.

Still, the new authorizations, which include restoration projects in the Florida Everglades and along the Gulf Coast as well as harbor expansion and flood protection projects, are much-needed, proponents say. The bill would also institute a number of policy reforms, including provisions aimed at moving toward full use of the roughly $1.6 billion collected annually by a Harbor Maintenance Tax for dredging and maintenance, shifting a larger share of the cost for rehabilitation of locks and dams to the federal government, freeing up industry funding for construction of navigation projects, and provisionally extending the length of time the federal government shares the cost of pumping sand to beach protection projects.

And despite vehement objections from more than 100 green groups, as well as lawyers and state wetlands and floodplain managers, the bill passed with provisions aimed at speeding up the environmental review process. The provisions would make the corps the lead agency for the process. It would fine resource agencies for missed deadlines and would establish a mechanism for elevating disputes between agencies up the chain of command.

Opponents of these provisions were particularly frustrated because they were staunchly backed by their usual ally, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the bill. In the end, greens won a minor concession in an amendment from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) that passed yesterday by unanimous consent, which would sunset the provisions after 10 years. But with the Republican-controlled House up next in the legislative process, environmentalists say they are starting from a down position.

“The so-called ‘streamlining provisions’ strike at the heart of environmental protections that have been in place for four decades,” Melissa Samet, senior water resources counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, said by email. “They add multiple layers of red tape to project reviews and are likely to slow those reviews down rather than speed them up. The end result will be more flooding, damaged rivers, and higher costs to taxpayers. This bill needs to be fixed before it becomes law.”

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) had planned to offer an amendment that would have sunset the provisions after five years, but he agreed this morning not to after Boxer committed to holding a hearing on similar provisions that were instituted under last year’s surface transportation bill.

“Make no mistake, these provisions are still a very risky move,” Udall said on the floor. But, he told Boxer, “because you’re working with me on this, I’m not going to move forward.”

Tick Prevention Not Mission Impossible

Outdoor enthusiasts can take these five simple steps to reduce the risk of contracting many tick-borne diseases

Tick season may not be listed on the sportsmen’s calendar, but that shouldn’t prevent hunters from going outdoors prepared for a very likely encounter with this prolific species. As weather warms this spring, Kansas’ some 20 documented species of ticks will become active, most likely until midsummer, or later. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts can take several steps to prevent becoming a host to these hitchhikers and the various diseases they may carry.

Ticks are often associated with one of two groups: hard or soft ticks. “Hard ticks” are often found in wooded, grassy, or other densely vegetated areas, whereas “soft ticks” tend to reside in bird nests, on rodents, and on bats. Although many ticks can make their way to people, no species of tick depends solely on humans for survival. Some species are quite host-specific or accept only a few closely-related host species, however, due to the fact that a female tick can lay anywhere from 3,000 to 11,000 eggs, this should not be taken lightly.

The best way to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases is to avoid tick-infested habitat in the first place. Since this is not an option for turkey hunters, hikers and morel mushroom hunters, listed below are a few simple precautions that can reduce the chances of a tick encounter.

Tip #1: Since most ticks crawl upward onto a host, tuck your pantlegs into your boots and shirts into your pants. For extra protection, tape such clothing junctures with duct tape, then twist the tape so the sticky side is out and make one more wrap.

Tip #2: Wear light-colored clothing when possible. This makes it easier to see ticks crawling around before they find their way to your skin.

Tip #3: Look for a repellent that contains 0.5 percent or more of permethrin. This works as a great tick repellent and can usually be used on clothing. In fact, some products containing permethrin can remain bonded with clothing fibers even through laundering.

Tip #4: When you return from the outdoors, inspect all your clothing before going inside. Once inside, do a thorough whole-body inspection and wash your clothing as soon as possible.

Tip #5: Don’t forget to protect man’s best friend. Commercially available dog dips containing amitrax or permethrin can provide canines with tick protection for two to three weeks per treatment. For the very best tick prevention for canines, contact your local veterinarian and inquire about prescribed treatment options, most of which can now last for a month or more.

If a tick is found, it is recommended that the tick be removed as soon as possible and the affected area is disinfected immediately following the removal.

Research trials have shown that the best method to remove a tick is to grasp the tick close to the skin with fine-tipped tweezers, placing the tweezers close to and parallel to the skin so that you grasp the base of the tick’s mouthparts rather than its body. Pull gently but firmly, straight away from the skin until the tick comes free. Keep in mind that it’s best to grasp the tick from its back to its belly, instead of from side to side – this helps to prevent the tick’s mouthparts from remaining imbedded in the skin. The sooner a tick is removed, the less chance it will transmit a disease to its host.

One of the most common diseases transmitted by ticks is Lyme disease. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had 11 confirmed cases and six probable cases of Lyme Disease within Kansas. To put things in perspective, Pennsylvania had 4,739 confirmed cases the same year.

Other notable tick-born diseases found in Kansas include ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.

After a tick bite, Lyme disease may progress several weeks without signs of illness, making diagnosis difficult. Years of pain and physical and mental impairment can result if untreated. The other three diseases often show signs within two to five days of a tick bite. They may progress so rapidly that a day or two of delay in diagnosis and treatment may result in death.

If signs of severe or persistent headaches, fever, soreness or stiffness in muscles and joints, appetite loss, fatigue, or a skin rash occur within three weeks after a tick bite, immediately contact your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html.

House Subcommittee Passes 2014 Agriculture Funding Bill

by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday approved its fiscal year (FY) 2014 agriculture appropriations bill by voice vote. The bill sets discretionary spending at $19.5 billion, which is $1.3 billion below the FY 2013 enacted level but roughly equal to the FY 2013 enacted level minus sequestration (across-the-board budget cuts imposed in FY 2013 following the breakdown of comprehensive budget talks). 

The bill will now be taken up by the House Appropriations Committee, likely sometime next week, and then by the full House, likely sometime soon after the full House deals with the new five-year farm bill. In recent years, amendments to the bill have been taken up at the full Committee markup rather than during the increasingly proforma Subcommittee markup. So next week’s full Committee markup could include amendments that, if successful, could change some of what is reported below about the Subcommittee bill.

Big Picture

Before the final FY 2014 agriculture appropriations bill can become law, the Senate must go through the same legislative process, and the two bills must then be reconciled. The House and Senate are working from very different vantage points — so different, in fact, that it is unlikely that Congress will finish new appropriations bills this year, forcing Congress to resort to another continuing resolution.  

The Senate appropriations bills assume spending at the levels set by in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) and further assume that sequestration will be repealed. The House assumes much deeper cuts than the deep cuts already agreed to in the BCA and assumes the continuation of sequestration. The House is further assuming restoration of defense-related and homeland security spending cuts, bringing those items back close to their pre-sequestration levels, and thus making even deeper cuts to social programs.  

In short, the differences between the two bodies, and the absence of an agreement to even begin work on a final budget deal, most likely portends another continuing resolution this fall, with spending continued on remote control from the current fiscal year.

Conservation Programs

We are delighted to report that the House Subcommittee bill makes no cut to theConservation Stewardship Program beyond the cut made by sequestration.

However, as we posted earlier this week, the bill cuts other mandatory conservation spending by more than $500 million in FY 2014. More than 25 national conservation organizations delivered a letter to House Appropriators opposing these cuts and more generally opposing the practice of cutting mandatory conservation program funding in annual appropriations bills.

In recognition of the critical importance of funding for conservation technical assistance, the Subcommittee bill increases USDA’s discretionary conservation operations budget from $767 million in FY 2013 to $810 million in FY 2014. This is significantly less than historic levels, but is an important reversal of a downward trend that has undermined USDA’s capacity to effectively deliver conservation programs to farmers and ranchers.

Rural Development and Farm Loans

For the most part, funding for important and successful rural development programs increases slightly over enacted FY 2013 levels. The bill increases funding for the Value Added Producer Grants program from $13.8 million to the President’s budget request of $15 million.  We commend the Subcommittee for recognizing the importance of the program to rural economic development. The bill provides $37 million through the local foods set aside within the Business and Industry guaranteed loans program, down slightly from $37.9 million in FY 2013.

No discretionary funding is provided for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. The bill would also provide no funding for the Rural Cooperative Development Grants program or for the Rural Business Opportunity Grants program.

On a brighter note, a number of important farm loan programs receive significant increases. The bill increases funding for Direct Farm Ownership loans from $438 million to $575 million, Guaranteed Farm Ownership loans from $1.4 billion to $2 billion, and Direct Farm Operating loans from $970 million to $1.13 billion. For the first two loan programs, the Subcommittee matched the levels requested by the President. While the plus-up for Direct Operating Loans does not meet the President’s request for $1.22 billion, it represents an important first step in addressing a long and growing application backlog.

Research, Education, and Extension

As with the rural development programs, the House Subcommittee bill provides slight increases many for research, education, and extension programs. The bill increases funding for theSustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, a top NSAC appropriations priority, from $17.7 million to slightly more than $19 million. This is below the President’s budget request of $22.7 million, and far below the program’s authorized funding level of $60 million. Importantly, the bill explicitly accepts the Administration’s proposal to consolidate the various SARE research, education, and extension funding activities into a single line item. While all SARE funding would be provided through the Research and Education funding line, USDA has committed to retaining each of the program’s unique funding activities.

The bill provides $4 million for the Organic Transitions program, $2.25 million for the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program, and $291 million for theAgriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a six percent increase over the FY 2013 level.

Legislative Riders

Unlike in previous years, the House Subcommittee’s bill is surprisingly clear of legislative riders. The bill contains no riders related to livestock competition and contract fairness, biotech, wetlands, or pesticides.

Important Report Language 

The Subcommittee report also takes steps forward in promoting public research, local food systems, and organic agriculture. First, the report encourages the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to invest in research, methods, and tools that support classical plant breeding.  This important language has been included in Senate appropriations bills in the past, but never in the House.

Second, the Subcommittee directs USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) to coordinate USDA sub-agencies that are involved in data collection, analysis, and research on the production, pricing, distribution and marketing of locally and regionally produced agricultural products and to identify gaps in the data. The Subcommittee also requests that ERS provide a report that assesses the scope and trends in local and regional food systems.

Third, the report expresses concern that USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is moving too slowly in developing and offering crop insurance options (known as price elections) for organic farmers. USDA has stated that it will likely develop 6-10 new organic price elections in 2014. The Subcommittee requests a report from USDA detailing the Department’s plan and timetable for implementing organic price elections for all organic crops.

Funding Cuts

The bill includes a funding level for the largest program in the agriculture appropriations bill — the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Feeding Program — that is nearly $500 million below the level requested by USDA. The combination of the WIC cut, the changes to mandatory  farm bill conservation spending levels of over $500 million, and a smaller decrease in international food assistance enabled the Subcommittee to include funding increases elsewhere in the bill and still come out with a total that roughly equals the FY 2013 level including sequestration.


For a more detailed breakdown of the funding levels provided in the Subcommittee’s bill, you can download NSAC’s updated appropriations chart.

Conservation Organizations Oppose Appropriations Cuts to Conservation

by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

On Tuesday, June 4, more than 25 national conservation organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, delivered a letter to House Appropriators opposing the practice of cutting mandatory conservation program funding in annual appropriations bills. Mandatory conservation spending falls under the jurisdiction of the authorizing committees, in this case, the Agriculture Committees. Yet, year after year, recent annual appropriations bills limit conservation spending through cuts known as Changes in Mandatory Program Spending (CHIMPS). The initial FY 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill released by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today uses CHIMPS to cut more than $500 million from mandatory conservation.

While we are delighted to report that the House Subcommittee’s bill does not cut funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program in FY 2014, the bill contains deep cuts to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (17 percent), Wetlands Reserve Program (roughly 24 percent), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (43 percent), and Agricultural Management Assistance program (67 percent).

The letter notes that “over the past decade, the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill has been disproportionately targeted for severe cuts in appropriations bills. Since the enactment of the 2002 Farm Bill, appropriations bills have taken over $5 billion from Farm Bill mandatory conservation spending through backdoor ‘changes in mandatory program spending’ (CHIMPS).  In FY 2012 alone, Farm Bill mandatory conservation spending was cut, via “chimping,” by $745.5 million. Nearly 80 percent of all CHIMPS made to Farm Bill programs since 2007 have targeted the conservation programs.”

The groups continue: “We recognize that the Subcommittee is once again faced with an unreasonably low 302(b) sub-allocation for FY 2014. However, the Farm Bill Conservation Title baseline is already being cut by $2.1 billion through the sequester, and is expected to be cut an additional $3.5 billion to $5 billion over ten years in the 2013 Farm Bill.”

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will markup its bill tomorrow morning, and the full House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the following week. As the House and Senate consider the FY 2014 funding bill in the weeks ahead, we strongly urge members in both chambers of Congress to reject cuts to mandatory conservation program spending. “Mandatory conservation spending should not be reduced further to offset discretionary funding,” the groups state. “Farmers and ranchers have already given more than their fair share through cuts to these programs.”

Senate Sets Path to Pass 2013 Farm Bill

by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

On Thursday, June 6, the Senate voted 75-22 to limit debate on its version of the 2013 Farm Bill, setting up a final vote on passage of the bill for Monday evening. Fifty-three Democrats and 22 Republicans voted to limit debate — or, to invoke “cloture” — and 22 Republicans voted against.

The vote to limit debate became necessary after Senate leaders failed to come to an agreement on a list of farm bill amendments to consider. Since consideration by the full Senate of the Committee-passed farm bill started in mid-May, over 200 amendments have been filed to the bill. Of the amendments filed to the bill, the Senate has considered only 14 and has adopted eight. This includes the NSAC-supported amendment led by Senators Coburn (R-OK) and Durbin (D-IL) to reduce crop insurance subsidies for millionaires that passed by a vote of 59-33.

Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) had been trying to secure a unanimous consent agreement on a shorter list of amendments to receive votes, but Senators kept on objecting to consideration of certain amendments unless others were also considered. This led to the need to limit debate on the bill, especially since the Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) wants to move on to debate of other bills, including immigration reform. The immigration reform bill debate started today and picks up again on Tuesday.

The successful vote to limit debate on the farm bill also severely limits the number and types of amendments to be voted on. Currently, only two more Senate votes are expected on the Senate farm bill — one on a rural broadband amendment by Senator Leahy (D-VT) and the other on final passage of the bill.

It is unclear whether there will be also be a manager’s amendment that packages a variety of amendments that have bipartisan support and are relatively uncontroversial. It may still prove possible, but given the heated backroom debate and all the jockeying this week over amendments, it could very well be that no additional changes will be considered.

If that proves to be the case and the only votes on Monday evening are on the Leahy broadband amendment and then final passage, the Senate will not get the opportunity to vote on a number of priority sustainable agriculture amendments. These include the Brown amendment on local food and rural development, the Casey amendment on beginning farmer microloans, the Harkin amendment to modernize the interest rate for FSA farm real estate loans, the Leahy amendment on conservation payments for organic farmers, the Udall amendment on water conservation, the Grassley amendment on antitrust enforcement, the Tester amendment on public plant breeding research, and the Shaheen amendment on revenue insurance premium subsidy limits.

NSAC continues to support working out a manager’s amendment that would allow at least some of the less controversial amendments to move forward. We also continue to support a yes vote on final passage.

It is widely expected that the Senate will pass its version of the 2013 Farm Bill on Monday by a substantial bipartisan majority.

The full House is expected to take up consideration of the House Agriculture Committee-passed farm bill during the week of June 17. We will preview House action for our readers late next week.

A number of significant unknowns remain about the path to completion of the 2013 Farm Bill, but both the Senate and the House are taking the necessary steps to move the bill forward before the current extension expires on September 30.