Word of Butler’s departure comes less than six weeks after USDA issued a stripped-down version of the controversial GIPSA regulation. The final version was minus many of the provisions NPPC and the rest of the livestock industry had protested for 18 months.
In the course of the controversy, Butler himself became an issue. Conflict of interest charges flew over his 30 years as a plaintiff’s attorney suing poultry processors under the Packers and Stockyards Act. (A key provision of the originally proposed GIPSA rule would have all-but-guaranteed plaintiff victories in the types of cases Butler argued.)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement Wednesday praising Butler for his “outstanding service.”