The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced a new Dealer Statutory Trust to Protect Livestock Sellers. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed on December 27, 2020, amended the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act by adding Section 318 to establish a “Dealer Statutory Trust” for the benefit of unpaid cash sellers of livestock.
“USDA supports transparency in pricing throughout the supply chain to ensure farmers and livestock producers are getting a fair price, and we look forward to working with Congress and the federal family to improve price discovery and protect against unfair treatment,” said Robert Bonnie, USDA Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy.
Much like the existing packer and poultry trusts, the amendment requires livestock dealers to hold all livestock purchased, and if livestock has been resold, the receivables or proceeds from such sale, in trust for the benefit of all unpaid cash sellers of livestock until full payment has been received by those sellers. Dealers whose average annual livestock purchases do not exceed $100,000 are exempt.
Livestock sellers who do not receive timely payment from a dealer may file claims on the dealer statutory trust. To be valid, trust claims must be filed within 30 days of the final date for making payment, or within 15 business days after the seller receives notice of a dishonored payment. Dealers who receive a trust claim notice are required to give notice within 15 days to anyone holding a lien on the livestock held in the trust.
For assistance with livestock payment concerns or help with filing a claim, unpaid sellers should contact their respective P&S Regional Office. Additional information for P&S office contacts and a copy of the P&S Act are accessible on the AMS website.
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