WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 – Dudley Butler, administrator of USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), has tendered his resignation, effective Jan. 26, Agri-Pulse learned Wednesday.

Butler oversaw the development of a controversial proposal to reform livestock and poultry marketing practices that became known as the GIPSA rule.  It aimed to give Butler’s agency expanded authority under the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act to protect livestock and contract chicken producers from unfair, fraudulent or retaliatory practices.
The proposal was cheered by farm activists but heavily criticized by major livestock organizations, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Chicken Council, who claimed it went beyond the wishes of Congress in 2008 Farm Bill.

In the end, many of the marketing reforms that mattered most to competition advocates were stripped from the final rule. 

Butler’s involvement in the rulemaking was slammed by Republicans on Capitol Hill.  His previous experience as a trial lawyer who litigated cases under the P&S Act amounted to a conflict of interest in the minds of many of his detractors.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stood by his GIPSA Administrator throughout the controversy, and in a statement issued Wednesday evening, thanked Butler for his “outstanding service.”

 President Obama and I believe fair and competitive markets are critical to the success of American agriculture, and Dudley has worked tirelessly to advance this cause,” Vilsack said, adding, “USDA looks forward to continuing this work on behalf of our nation’s producers.”      


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