J. Dudley Baker is resigning his position as head of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration. The resignation comes after Congress killed funding for proposed antitrust regulation changes that would have greated expanded GIPSA's authority.
During Butler’s tenure, the PSA sought to expand its authority by giving greater protection to chicken farmers and cattle ranchers; in part; the reforms would have made it easier for farmers to sue packers over such issues as the prices packers pay or which production costs they cover. The rule would have prevented meatpackers from showing preference to big feedlots by offering them special incentives, and it would have limited the control chicken processors have over farmers they contract with by barring them from requiring farmers to bear the full cost of improving their facilities.
The proposed changes were heavily criticized by the meat packing and processing industries, and Congress subsequently barred the USDA from funding the new rules.
“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,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.
Sources: Washington Post, Associated Press