GIPSA administrator hopes to bring balance to cattle industry
September 18, 2009
South Dakota Stockgrowers Association recently had the honor of hosting J. Dudley Butler, the new administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), in Washington, DC.
Butler was in town to speak at the South Dakota Stockgrowers Convention Recognition Banquet on Friday night, Sept. 11, in Rapid City.
Butler talked about the need for balance in the cattle industry – he said by balance he means all parts of that industry, including the producers.
He advised that USDA/GIPSA and the Department of Justice have formed a task force to address anti-trust, fair trade and other issues. The task force will travel throughout the country to gain information and listen to concerns of the farmers and ranchers regarding these concerns.
After meting with Butler, Shane Kolb, new Stockgrower Vice President, said he was impressed with the Administrator’s sincerity and desire to make changes where they are desperately needed. He added, “he will need overwhelming support from farmers and ranchers to accomplish this.”
Kolb continued, “South Dakota Stockgrowers have long been frustrated and angered by the lack of enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act (P&SA) which was implemented in 1921, and have continually asked USDA and/or Congress for enforcement. For the first time we seem to have help on the way.”
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As Butler spoke of the plans that are in place to correct some of these problems he told the attendees at the banquet that no other U. S. President except Woodrow Wilson included this in their campaign platform. He said that this administration and Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack are serious about saving the family farmers and ranchers.
Stockgrower Director, Linda Gilbert of Buffalo, SD said, “Dudley Butler is a beacon of hope for the livestock industry as he searches for a balance between cow/calf producers and big corporations. It’s a good sign to hear someone speak of actually following the rules of GIPSA – he certainly has my support.”
Butler made a special point of asking for comments and support from farmers and ranchers by way of letters, phone calls, etc. He said he needs to receive individual comments from individual producers with their own stories. He added this is absolutely necessary to getting his job done as there will undoubtedly be litigation from those who seek to defend the current status quo.
Butler said he has spoken to many of the people in the GIPSA offices who want to do the work for which their position is intended, however, pressure from offices higher up have not allowed them to do that in previous administrations.
Later Butler was able to meet with a group of family farm feeders, and a group of livestock auction barn owners and managers. Following these meetings Butler and his wife Linda, were guests of some West River Ranchers including Vaughn and Lois Meyer of Reva, SD; Larry and Sandra Nelson of Buffalo, SD; and Rick and Theresa Fox of Hermosa, SD, before returning to Washington, DC on Monday.
Past President Rick Fox said, “It’s refreshing to have someone in Butler’s position actually speaking of the need to save farmers and ranchers and rural America as opposed to the usual need to be tied to the big corporations. I believe I can speak for most livestock producers when I say we look forward to working with him.