March 11, 2020
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act this week.
This bipartisan legislation would address the problem of 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—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.
“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.”
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 the creation of a Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust.
Full text of the bill can be found here.
Inhofe was joined by Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), 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.) as original cosponsors of the legislation.
Statements of Support:
The SALE Act has gained support from across the agriculture industry.
“Senator Inhofe has long been a champion for livestock owners across the nation,” said Tom Frey, Livestock Marketing Association President. “Through his work in the 2018 Farm Bill and the introduction of the SALE Act this Congress, we appreciate all of the continuous support he has provided our industry. In doing this, Sen. Inhofe is standing up for ranchers and the livestock auction markets that sell on their behalf to ensure they get paid for the livestock they own. We look forward to working with Sen Inhofe and his colleagues to swiftly enact this important legislation.”
“Members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association appreciate the leadership and foresight that Senator Inhofe is providing to our industry with the introduction of the SALE Act,” said Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. “While cattle ranchers still buy and sell cattle on handshake arrangements, the SALE Act will provide much needed assurance to the cattle market. If a deal should default, it can leave a rancher devastated to the point of selling the ranch in order to survive. This important Act will help establish some assurance and keep cattle ranchers in business during those unfortunate times.”
“Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association is proud to have an advocate in Senator Inhofe working on our behalf for livestock auctions and our producers,” said Brandon Hickey, vice president of the Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association and owner of the Elk City Livestock Auction in Elk City, Okla. “His leadership introducing the SALE Act to ensure ranchers and auctions are paid for cattle just shows his passion for rural Oklahoma and the livestock industry.”
“As a livestock market owner, I am in favor of the SALE Act. This will ensure that I get paid for the cattle that are purchased through my facilities,” said Jarrid Herrmann, owner of Cherokee Sales Company in Cherokee, Okla. “This is a big deal to farmers and ranchers in the US in the event of a dealer default, and the effect that it would have on businesses and rural economy of not getting paid for the livestock that are sold. I appreciate Senator Inhofe’s leadership on this issue, and appreciate his work on behalf of farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma.”