Tester Sponsors Bill to Protect Montana Livestock Sellers

Bipartisan SALE Act will Provide Extra Support for Ranchers at the Auction Yard

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is working with his colleagues across the aisle to protect Montana ranchers when they go to auction their livestock.

When heading to the auction yard, livestock sellers are dealt the short straw because if a dealer defaults on their payment to a seller, it is the bank who collects the collateral and the seller is left with nothing. That’s why Tester is sponsoring the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act to ensure Montana ranchers aren’t left empty handed if their buyers fail to make a timely payment.

“Montana’s ranchers deserve better,” Tester said. “They shouldn’t be risking their livelihood every time they head to the auction block. It’s important that both parties put politics aside and work together to fix this broken system to give sellers security when the go to sell their livestock.”

The SALE Act requires all livestock purchased by dealers to be held in trust for the sellers until full payment is received. It also ensures that the sellers, not the banks, retain the right to the traded assets if the dealer defaults on a payment.

This trust would not apply to small dealers with purchases of less than $250,000 annually and may be waived by written agreement between dealer and seller.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the Livestock Marketing Association have all expressed their support for Tester’s legislation.

“The Dealer Statutory Trust is the most commonsense legislation I’ve come across in a long time,” said Joe Goggins, owner of Public Auction Yards and Northern Livestock Video Auction in Billings. “We appreciate Sen. Tester’s support of the bill. It’s only fair and right that the unpaid sellers of livestock have priority over the lenders, and their customers that did not pay for the livestock. It’s also only fair and right that a person who has been paid in good faith during the 90 days prior to a dealer’s filing bankruptcy should not be forced to pay that money to the bankruptcy trustee.”

This bill will provide a much-needed safety net for Montana’s ranchers when taking their livestock to auction.

Tester’s SALE Act is available HERE.