Livestock Sales Bill Clears Senate, Heads to White House

Dan Cattle, Industry News Release

Cochran & Tester Introduced Legislation, Pushed for Senate to Complete Work on Measure

livestock cattle-auction sales
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) welcomed Senate passage of legislation to ensure protections for livestock producers who use 21st century technology for livestock sales.

The Senate on Thursday sent the Clarification of Treatment of Electronic Sales of Livestock Act to the White House. It would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to ensure that the law’s protections are extended to online or video livestock auctions. The bill would also ensure modern electronic banking options. The Senate approved HR.5883, the companion bill to Cochran and Tester’s S.3350, by unanimous consent.

“I am confident that this bipartisan legislation will be signed into law and that the protections it offers to producers will improve livestock transactions,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“I’ve seen it firsthand, life on the farm and ranch is changing in the 21st century. We see four-wheelers taking the place of horses, and combines that can do a month’s work in a day—it’s time that our livestock auction laws reflect the world we live in,” Tester said. “I am pleased to see my common-sense bipartisan legislation pass to help bring livestock auctions into the 21st century.”

HR.5883, introduced by Representative David Rouzer (R-N.C.), will clarify that Packers and Stockyards Act provisions apply to online or video auctions, just as they do for fixed-facility livestock market transactions. The legislation would also authorize modern electronic payment methods, including credit and debit cards or the Automated Clearing House payments system. The law currently only authorizes the use of checks or wire transfers to settle livestock sales.

In Mississippi, the legislation has the support of the Mississippi Farm Bureau, the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, and livestock markets in the state. On the national level, it is backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Livestock Producers Association, and United States Cattlemen’s Association.