Butler’s Status

Is J. Dudley Butler in the dog house?

 We figured that since his message and his new GIPSA rule followed the current administration’s populist, anti-business, anti-big, anti-free market philosophy, he would be just one of the posse in Washington these days, maybe even a colonel, as southern populist heroes were often known in the old days.  We were looking forward – in a twisted sort of way – to an update from the colonel himself at the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) annual meeting.  He was slated to be the luncheon speaker, reprising his role at last year’s OCM meeting, clearly relishing his role of spoiler of the party for big packers and cattlemen who get premiums for cattle or contract with packers.

 It was not to be.  Not only was Butler a no-show, even the president of OCM didn’t really know why.  Instead, the discussion at the meeting took a turn that surprised me.  Extrapolating from July’s House Ag Committee where Congressmen from both sides of the aisle raked Butler’s rule over the coals and from his non-appearance at their meeting, OCM speakers and members wondered if Butler’s job was in danger.  And if there is anything generals don’t like, it’s colonels leading then into an ambush.  And Butler certainly led Under Secretary Edward Avalos into an ambush at the House hearing. 

 While lauding Butler’s work, nevertheless, OCM speakers wondered aloud if he would survive, if his rule would survive if he didn’t and would their long-hoped-for rule die if Butler wasn’t there to shepherd it through the USDA-GIPSA process.  Because make no mistake, speaker after speaker referred to the proposed GIPSA rule as an opportunity they might never see again to make the meat industry into what they want it to be. And they implored people to make sure the rule’s supporters turned out in numbers never seen before at the Fort Collins workshop on Aug. 27.

 I believe Butler counts himself as a co-founder of OCM and last year was given a hero’s welcome back.  If he could have met any commitment, one would have figured this lunch date was it.  We also heard he cancelled an upcoming appearance in Wyoming.  So his friends are worried about his fate.  But it appears for now, the colonel’s horse is tethered pretty short.

 The next big clue might come in Fort Collins in a couple weeks.

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Published in: on August 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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