In 2008 the Federal Farm Bill instructed the Department of Agriculture to write rules for competition in the meat industry. This directive was to complete the details lacking in the 80-plus-year-old legislation on competition in the meat industry from the Theodore Roosevelt era. That legislation was to be enhanced with detailed directions on contracts, anti-trust policies and mandates requiring greater justice in meat production, processing and distribution.
The rules were to be developed by a small administrative unit of the United States Department of Agriculture: The Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyard Administration. J. Dudley Butler, who had a career as a plaintiff’s attorney challenging poultry companies’ control of the poultry industry, was brought in to direct the effort. This was a conscious effort by the Obama administration to tame the meat industry and challenge its control by a few corporations.