Kentucky Takes Steps to Protect Livestock Producers

February 11, 2011 03:14 AM

Source: Louisville KY Courier-Journal

The Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee chairman released three proposals aimed at helping livestock farmers if a cattle buying firm collapses.

The failure of New Albany, Ind.-based Eastern Livestock left hundreds of farmers as much as $130 million in the red. Federal agriculture officials have accused the company of bouncing checks for livestock purchases and failing to maintain an adequate bond to cover its debts.

One the bills from Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, would create a definition for a buying station under state law. Eastern’s buying station in Edmonton, Ky., was licensed as a dealer, but state agriculture officials say it arguably could have fit the definition of a stockyard under state law.

Senate Bill 92 also would subject the buying station to the same requirements that stockyards have under state law. It also would raise the maximum fine to $5,000 for a violation of the requirements from the current $500. The committee approved the bill, but Givens said that was so it could be published on the legislature’s website for the public. He said he will ask that it be sent back to his committee, where he plans another vote on Feb. 17.

No vote was taken on the other two bills, which also are to be considered next week.

Senate Bill 94 creates a livestock seller’s lien and Senate Bill 93 urges the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to alert federal authorities of any irregularities seen by the state agriculture department.

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