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Top Meat Antitrust Regulator Steps Down

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 7:20am

A top federal antitrust regulator for meat companies is stepping down.

J. Dudley Butler will end his tenure next week as head of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Butler oversaw key parts of the Obama administration's effort to pass sweeping antitrust reforms covering the meat packing industry. The effort ended late last year after Congress killed funding for the proposed regulations.

The Packers and Stockyards Administration has special antitrust authority over the nation's biggest meatpackers and poultry companies. During Butler's tenure, the PSA sought to expand its authority giving greater protection to chicken farmers and cattle ranchers in part by making it easier for them to sue packers over such issues as prices or which production costs they cover.

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