In a striking, two-and-a-half page analysis that ran counter to department leanings, the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture strongly objected to the department’s use of two outside studies that justified the massive retooling – essentially gutting – of the 2010 update of Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rules to ensure fairness in livestock and poultry markets.

The memo was one needle in a nearly 1,700-page haystack USDA forked over in reply to Freedom of Information Act requests by the Organization for Competitive Markets. OCM filed the requests to examine the background material USDA used to water down its proposed GIPSA rule last summer after more than a year of fence-sitting by the department and pounding by meatpackers, their contract growers and politicians.

Joseph Glauber, USDA’s chief economist, started his July 2011 “Comments on Draft Cost and Benefit Analysis” with a tough tone.