Hoeven & Cramer Help Introduce Legislation to Protect Cattle Producers From Dealer Payment Defaults

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer helped introduce the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act, bipartisan legislation to address the problem of livestock dealer payment default. Quick turnaround between the purchase and resale of cattle by a dealer often leaves the rancher who originally owned the cattle with little recourse if a dealer defaults on a purchase, as the livestock has often already been resold. The SALE Act would establish dealer statutory trusts, mimicking existing packer statutory trusts, for the purpose of ensuring that cattle sellers receive payment should a livestock dealer become insolvent.

“Our ranchers raise the highest quality cattle in the world, and they deserve certainty when selling their product,” said Senator Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Agriculture Committee. “We are advancing this bipartisan legislation to help ensure cattle producers receive the money they are owed. That’s critical to maintaining their operations.”

“In a time of persistent market disruptions, the Securing All Livestock Equitably Act is a positive step toward giving our ranchers stability in the market,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bill modernizes the sale of cattle and gives the seller proper recourse in the unfortunate event of a dealer default. I am glad to help introduce it with my colleagues, and I hope it continues to gain support.”

“When livestock dealers default on a payment, the lost income can be devastating to farm and ranch families. The establishment of a livestock dealer statutory trust would provide North Dakota’s livestock producers with the protections they need when marketing their product. NDFU appreciates Senator Hoeven’s and Senator Cramer’s support of the SALE Act. We look forward to working with them to advance this important legislation” said Mark Watne, President of the North Dakota Farmers Union.

“On behalf of North Dakota livestock market owners, and livestock market owners across the country, I applaud Senator Cramer and Senator Hoeven’s support of S. 3419, the SALE Act. This vital protection will help create a stronger industry for all those involved in the livestock sector. We are proud to have Senators Cramer and Hoeven as partners in making sure producers, and livestock auctions that work on their behalf, can recover the money they are owed in the event of a dealer default, especially in these volatile times,” said Larry Schnell, Partner of Stockmen’s Livestock, Dickinson, ND and incoming president of the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA).

The 2018 Farm Bill contained a provision (Section 12103) directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a livestock dealer statutory trust. The results of the study came out in December of 2019 and helped inform the senators’ ongoing effort to establish a Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust.    

In addition to Hoeven and Cramer, the SALE Act was introduced by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), with Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) joining as original cosponsors. Full text of the bill can be found here.