The Minnesota Livestock Market Agency & Dealer Licensing Act is designed to protect Minnesota livestock producers, licensed livestock market agencies, licensed livestock dealers, and any business entity involved in the sale of livestock. Any livestock dealer, market agency, or meat packing company that buys livestock in Minnesota must obtain a surety bond that will reimburse the seller if the buyer does not make payment.

Who must be licensed?

Anyone, including meat packing companies, who engages in the business of buying or selling livestock on a regular basis. Livestock includes:

  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Swine
  • Horses intended for slaughter
  • Mules
  • Farmed cervidae (deer & elk)
  • Llamas
  • Ratitae (ostriches & emus)
  • Bison
  • Goats

You do not need a license if you:

  • are primarily a meat retailer,
  • operate a frozen food processing plant, or
  • raise livestock, and the animals you buy are for herd replacement and you sell only livestock you bred and/or raised yourself.

If you are interested in becoming a licensed livestock dealer or market agency, see How to Get a License.

Find out if a dealer or market agency is licensed

If you are buying or selling livestock it’s a good idea to check if the person or company you are dealing with is licensed. You can start by looking up the buyer’s name in the MDA’s Licensing Information System.

What are the import requirements for livestock?

There are inspection requirements to bring livestock into Minnesota from another state or country. These differ depending on the species and the intended destination of the animal. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health establishes and enforces these rules, so contact them if you need more information.

File a bond claim or make a complaint

If you want to file a bond claim or make a complaint against a livestock dealer, market agency, or packer, contact Grace Martin (651-707-7751) or USDA’s Packers & Stockyards Administration (515-323-2579). You may also send a written complaint to Livestock Dealer Licensing, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul MN 55155-2538. We will verify the claim or complaint and determine what needs to be done to remedy the situation.