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Agricultural News

Dudley Butler Resigns from GIPSA at USDA- R-Calf Offers High Praise

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 17:06:38 CST

Dudley Butler Resigns from GIPSA at USDA- R-Calf Offers High Praise J. Dudley Butler has resigned as administrator of USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, effective next week, USDA confirmed today. His resignation brings to an end a controversial tenure marked by an attempt to toughen regulations on livestock and poultry marketing.

"I want to thank J. Dudley Butler for his outstanding service as Administrator," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "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. USDA looks forward to continuing this work on behalf of our nation's producers."

"I have enjoyed the past three years at USDA working with Secretary Vilsack to strengthen American agriculture and build fair markets for livestock and poultry producers," Butler said in a statement released by USDA. "I leave knowing our commitment to these hardworking men, women and families will continue."

Butler oversaw the development of the 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 rule was originally published in June 2010- was subjected to intense debate for and against, and ended up having only relatively small sections of the sweeping proposal actually finalized this past year.

One group that was a major supporter of the GIPSA rule- and a defender of Dudley Butler was R-Calf USA. On Thursday afternoon, they released a lengthly statement praising Butler for his service at USDA- and pledging their intentions to see major reforms eventually be adopted.

The following is the statement from R-Calf USA's CEO, Bill Bullard:

"Dudley Butler was appointed as the Administrator of GIPSA (the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) to restore competition to our U.S. livestock markets that, through decades of neglect, have been all but captured by a handful of corporate meatpackers. His monumental and historic job was to reverse the ongoing and alarming exodus of independent livestock producers from our rural landscape an exodus that is causing the hollowing out of Rural America.

"Mr. Butler did exactly what he was appointed to do by proposing a rule that would have restricted the corporate meatpackers' ability to exercise abusive market power against independent producers. However, the political pushback by the corporate meatpackers proved too great and the Administration that appointed Mr. Butler lost its resolve to continue supporting the key provisions in the proposed rule that would have actually restored competition. Those key provisions are now dead.

"R-CALF USA greatly appreciates Mr. Butler's historic effort and is deeply disappointed that neither the Administration nor Congress had the fortitude or integrity to stand behind him when the corporate meatpackers turned up the heat.

"We respect Mr. Butler's decision to step down as we would not expect anyone whose hands have been tied to pursue an exercise in futility.

"The urgent need to restore competition to our shrinking livestock markets remains and R-CALF USA will continue fighting with the same level of commitment and integrity that Mr. Butler exhibited when he embarked on his pro-competition agenda.

"Mr. Butler established a strong foundation for restoring competition and we intend to keep building upon that foundation until the corporate meatpackers' abusive control over our industry is eliminated."



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