The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and 20 of its state affiliates-representing 95 percent of the U.S. hogs marketed-recently urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take steps to ease the pressures on U.S. pork producers. Since October, the pork industry has lost nearly $2 billion. NPPC representatives met with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schaffer to ask that USDA support a waiver of the biofuels mandate, support the elimination of or significant reduction in the ethanol blender's tax credit, support the elimination of or significant reduction in the tariff on ethanol imported into the United States, immediately, and without penalty, release non-environmentally sensitive acres from the Conservation Reserve Program and allow crop farmers to plant a harvestable crop on those acres that could not be planted this spring due to weather conditions, even though the farmer may have collected a disaster payment on the ground. Under federal energy policy, the ethanol industry this year is required to produce 9 billion gallons of corn-ethanol.