Constituents in the Northwest must really like their beer. Well, at least enough that two representatives and four senators from Washington and Oregon which included members from both parties were able to get more than four hundred grand in the FY 2008 agriculture appropriations bill for hops, a main ingredient in the alcoholic beverage. The legislators contend that hops is a vital piece of the economy in their region Oregon produces approximately 17% of the U.S. market share. The federal earmark mostly goes to the Northwest Hops Research program, allowing experts to investigate "critical issues" in the industry. Another plus: The research is also expected to produce new hop varieties that are disease and pest resistant.