J. Dudley Butler, the controversial administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), announced yesterday that he is resigning, effective next week. During his tenure, Butler sought to revise antitrust provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act, using authority granted to USDA by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill.  Prior to joining USDA in 2009,  Butler, a Mississippi attorney, was embroiled in a number of lawsuits involving antitrust issues.

Butler’s proposed changes in the GIPSA rule were published in 2010 and was immediately and highly criticized by livestock and poultry processors as going beyond the intent of Congress.  A long comment period was established, but in November Congress barred funding for the Obama administration to implement parts of the rule, and a significantly watered-down version of the rule was published in December.