Farmers and ranchers flooded the nation’s Capital last week not just due to the “Farm Bill Now!” rally, but pork producers from across the nation visited with their senators and representatives during the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) biannual Legislative Action Conference.

Another 18 pork industry representatives started the first of their three sessions involved with NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute (PLI). This program updates these individuals about the workings of Washington, D.C., information about the pork industry’s legislative issues and coaches them on how to work with their lawmakers. A group of 12 swine veterinarians also were in town to participate NPPC’s Swine Veterinarians Public Policy Advocacy Program, which is similar to PLI.

Among the topics these pork representatives discussed with their lawmakers included, the 2012 Farm Bill, a waiver of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and trade expansion and related developments.

A major issue on pork producers’ list is the getting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the RFS given the drought-induced reduction of corn and soybean crops. Beyond record prices, feed availability for livestock and poultry producers is a sincere concern.

EPA has been collecting comments on the RFS waiver issue, and last week extended the period to Oct. 11.

NPPC, numerous other livestock and poultry groups, eight governors and 34 Senate and 156 House members have asked EPA to waive the federal mandate for the production of corn ethanol. NPPC is urging pork producers and industry representatives to submit comments. Interested participants can find guidance on NPPC’s website.

In more Capital developments, the House of Representatives last Thursday passed a continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 117) for the federal government’s fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The resolution would fund federal programs and services until March 27, 2013. The resolution passed by a vote of 329-91 and provides more than $1 trillion to fund the federal government over the next six months.

NPPC points out that priorities of interest to pork producers, such as feral hog control, animal traceability and pseudorabies surveillance programs, will continue operating with the same funding amounts as the previous fiscal year. The resolution instructs agencies to develop plans explaining how they will allocate the funding among programs, projects and activities. A continuing resolution was necessary because Congress has not agreed on any of the 12 annual appropriations bills.  NPPC points out that congressional leaders brokered this resolution in late July, kicking a multitude of fiscal decisions into next year.