WASHINGTON, May 20, 2020 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on April 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a complaint against Minnix Cattle Company LLC (Minnix Cattle) and Gregory A. Minnix (Minnix) of Virginia, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed that from January 2018 to November 2018, Minnix and Minnix Cattle failed to pay timely for 35 livestock purchases totaling $631,599. Of this amount, $368,937 remained unpaid to the sellers of the livestock at the time the Complaint was issued. In three of these purchases Minnix and Minnix Cattle issued checks to sellers totaling $106,892 that were returned unpaid because Minnix and Minnix Cattle did not maintain enough funds in the account to pay the checks when presented.
The investigation also found that Minnix Cattle was operating while insolvent. As of Dec. 31, 2017, Minnix Cattle’s liabilities exceeded its assets by $376,873. As of April 30, 2018, its liabilities exceeded its assets by $762,658.
The P&S Act requires subject entities to issue full payment for livestock by the close of the first business day following purchase and transfer of possession. Failure to timely pay for livestock purchases, issuing checks without sufficient funds for purchases, and operating while insolvent are unfair trade practices and violations of the P&S Act.
The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $28,061 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in an oral hearing, Minnix and Minnix Cattle may be ordered to cease and desist from violating the P&S Act and assessed a civil penalty.
The P&S Act is a fair-trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat and poultry industries. For further information about the Packers and Stockyards Act, contact Stuart Frank, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (515) 323-2586, or by email at email@example.com.