U.S. Senators Smith, Inhofe Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Cattle Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [03/11/20]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced their bipartisan Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act, which would address dealer payment default. The quick turnaround between the purchase and resale of cattle by dealers often leaves the ranchers who originally owned the cattle with little recourse if a dealer defaults on a purchase—the livestock has often already been resold.

The SALE Act would establish dealer statutory trusts, which are similar to existing packer statutory trusts, to ensure that cattle sellers receive payment should a livestock dealer become insolvent.

“Minnesota cattle producers, farm organizations, and family-owned businesses have shared with me how important it is for farmers, and livestock dealers, to all get a fair and competitive price during livestock auctions. But right now, it can be catastrophic when a livestock dealer defaults on farmers and families go unpaid for their livestock with little recourse,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Our bipartisan Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act would make sure livestock producers have a way to get paid in full in the event of a default. We’re working across the aisle and focused on getting this done because it’s a straightforward solution for everyone.”

“Oklahoma farmers and ranchers rely on the revenue generated from their livestock,” Inhofe said. “I understand how important it is to ensure both livestock dealers and farmers have stability and accountability when a sale is made. If a livestock dealer defaults on a sale, the lost assets can be detrimental to the farmer. That’s why I am proud to introduce the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act, bipartisan legislation that will create common-sense protections for Oklahoma’s cattle producers and provide necessary stability and accountability for all livestock transactions.”

“We greatly appreciate the leadership of Senators Inhofe and Smith in introducing the SALE Act. They are standing up for livestock farmers and auction markets to make sure we are paid for livestock,” said Tom Frey, Livestock Marketing Association President. “This issue is the top priority for LMA in our lobbying efforts. Too many people have experienced the pain of a livestock payment default and not have the right to get their cattle back. It is time to correct this and the SALE Act is the fix.”

The 2018 Farm Bill—which Sen. Smith fought for as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee—contained a provision directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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 the creation of a Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust.   

You can access full text of the bill here. In addition to Sens. Smith and Inhofe, the bill is supported by a bipartisan group of senators including Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).