Livestock Market Licenses
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) licenses livestock dealers, markets and packers conducting business in Indiana. This webpage explains, in general terms, state requirements for livestock markets. All requirements are not included here; contact BOAH for additional, specific information.
Who Needs a License?
A livestock "dealer" is anyone engaged in the business of buying, selling or negotiating the transfer of livestock. "Dealer" includes, but is not limited to, stockyards, auction markets, buying stations and concentration points. IC 15-2.1-2-13. Livestock dealers must be licensed under state law.
State law allows some exemptions to the livestock dealer license requirement:
Livestock purchases by an individual for his/her own use other than resale on the livestock market.
Distributors of livestock dedicated to improvement of breeding practices or experimental procedures, when ownership is in whole or in part a distributor or breeder.
Sales or purchases by a producer or farmer (as defined in Indiana law) as part of a farming enterprise. "Producer or farmer" means anyone who buys or sells animals in connection with a business of raising, feeding, grazing or breeding livestock as part of a farming enterprise. Individuals should not follow a pattern of returning stock to channels of trade in fewer than 60 days of acquisition. IC 15-2.1-2-42.
Purchases of livestock by operators of restaurants, grocery stores, meat processing plants and slaughtering plants for processing and sale in connection with the business. The total number of livestock purchased cannot exceed 20 head in any one week.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health issues livestock dealer licenses in three classifications:
Market facility dealer license: for stockyards, buying stations, packers, concentration points and livestock auction markets.
Individual dealer license: for individuals.
Combination license: a market facility license and an individual dealer license.
Final determination of classifications are made by the State Veterinarian, based on the following requirements:
A person is operating a market facility when he/she holds more than one auction that is not exempt at a location in a 12-month period.
Separate licenses are required for each location a market facility is operated.
Anyone operating a licensed market facility and dealing in livestock outside that facility must have a combination license. IC 15-2.1-14-4 and 345 IAC 7-3.5-5.
Livestock Dealer's Agents Licensing
Agents of market facilities and individual dealers must be listed on the license application. The principal may later add or delete an agent's name by sending a written request to the State Veterinarian's office for approval.
A livestock dealer may not designate an agent whose dealer license was suspended or revoked in any state within the last two years. A licensee must request the deletion of an agent from his license immediately upon learning of the revocation of an agent's dealer license by any state.
Any act or omission that falls within the livestock dealer's business relationship is considered an act of the principal license holder.
State law requires every dealer to execute and maintain a bond. Each dealer buying and selling livestock across state lines must obtain a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Packers and Stockyards bond as required by federal law. Further bond coverage is not required for those individuals if the bond amount and terms meet the requirements of Indiana law.
Indiana's required bond amount is equal to the nearest multiple of $5,000 above the average sales, purchases, and transfers of livestock by the dealer during two business days. Average amount is calculated based on 260 working days in the previous 12 months. Start-up or new businesses must estimate the amount, which is subject to adjustment.
Bond amount guidelines:
All bonds must be at least $10,000.
Where the required amount of the bond exceeds $50,000, the bond amount is equal to $50,000 plus 10% of the excess.
A blanket bond can be secured in lieu of individual bonds for businesses under the same ownership.
Bond coverage must be adjusted annually, prior to license renewal if necessary to reflect the gross amount of business transacted during the 12-month period. The surety on the bond must be a surety company authorized to do business in Indiana.
Scales used to weigh livestock are subject to inspection by the Weights and Measures Division of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH).
Fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices in weighing livestock constitute grounds for the license revocation and other penalties, under Indiana law.
Livestock dealers are required to keep records of their transactions. Records must fully disclose the true ownership of the business. The dealer's records shall fully and correctly disclose all purchases, sales, or transfers involving livestock, including:
Description and identification of each animal or group/lot received for sale or consignment.
Name and address of the seller or consignor.
Date animals were received.
Name and address of the buyer or consignee.
Description of each animal or group/lot sold to each buyer.
Price paid for each animal and, if sold by weight, the number and live weight for each animal sold.
Record of individual animal identification, including ear tags, ear notches, back tags, tattoos or brands.
Any commissions or charges withheld or deducted, and net proceeds paid to the seller or consignor.
If tested, individual test records, health records and health certificates on animals.
Any other facts necessary to complete the account and reflect the nature of the transaction. 345 IAC 7-3.5-9
Making (or causing to be made) a false entry or statement in any report or record is illegal. As is willfully removing, destroying, changing or concealing the true identity or identification of any animal required by state or federal law to be identified.
All license-holders (and their agents/employees) must, upon request during ordinary business hours, permit authorized representatives of the BOAH to enter the licensee's place of business to examine records, accounts, and memoranda pertinent to livestock transactions made in connection with the business. The inspector may make copies of those records, memoranda or accounts, and inspect the property and facilities used in connection with the business. Required records must be kept open for inspection by BOAH as follows: bison, cattle, sheep, cervids, equine: 5 years; all other species: 3 years.
Whenever livestock is weighed for purchase or sale at a market facility, a scale ticket must be issued by the agent performing the weighing service. The scale ticket must clearly indicate the following:
Consignor or seller.
Recorded weight of the animal.
Account of dockage (if any).
Initials of the person who weighed the livestock.
A scale ticket cannot show a change in weight, unless the animal is reweighed. If an error (other than weight) is made, a revised scale ticket showing the correction and reason for the change must be attached to the original, incorrect ticket. These corrections are permitted only when the buyer's name is not needed on the scale ticket, and the dealer keeps buyer records. 345 IAC 7-3.5-11.
A person consigning livestock to a dealer for sale at auction, at the time of consignment or delivery, must stipulate the specific purpose for which the animal is to be offered for sale. However, when the consignor does not declare a purpose, the dealer will make the decision and sell the animal in the best interests of the consignor.
Livestock sales on consignment must be sold openly, to achieve the highest available bid in the best interest of the consignor. Consignments must also be sold on their own merit. The sale of one cannot be conditional on the sale of another, different consignment. However, the sale of livestock in graded lots belonging to different owners is not prohibited, if the consignors agree.
When an animal is sold for immediate slaughter, the auctioneer (or other selling agent) must clearly announce the animal is for slaughter-only. When sold, the dealer must clearly mark "for slaughter only" on the bill of sale given to the buyer and maintained in the dealer's records. Diverting a slaughter-only animal to any other purpose is illegal. An authorized representative of the State Veterinarian has the right to identify any domestic animal to be sold for "immediate slaughter".
Promptly following the purchase or sale of livestock at public auction, the dealer shall provide the seller/consignor and buyer an itemized written account of the purchase/sale, including:
Number, weight (if sold by weight), and price for each animal.
Name of the person for whose account the transaction was made.
Amount of the commission or other lawful charges/deductions withheld from the gross proceeds.
Other facts necessary to complete the account and show fully the true nature of the transaction.
Each market facility dealer must provide:
Services and facilities reasonably necessary in the buying, selling, assembling, holding, feeding, watering, testing, identifying, inspecting and delivering livestock for public marketing; and
Services of a licensed, accredited veterinarian, approved by BOAH, to conduct all testing, vaccinating and inspection, required by state and federal law, of animals sold through the market. 345 IAC 7-3.5-13.
Inspection of Livestock
Except for purposes of immediate slaughter, all domestic animals consigned to a dealer must be inspected prior to public sale or auction. Removing a domestic animal from the premises of a public market before it has passed inspection is illegal. Dealers with custody of livestock subject to inspection must make the animals readily available to inspecting agencies, while preserving the consignments' identities until inspection is complete. BOAH employees and others authorized by the State Veterinarian have the right to inspect any livestock at market facilities to determine ownership and point of origin, evaluate health, and pursue the objectives of BOAH.
When domestic animals are tested, vaccinated, or otherwise professionally treated by a veterinarian at a market facility as part of their sale/offering for sale, the market operator must furnish the veterinarian:
All available identification of the animal;
Name and address of the consignor; and
All other pertinent information the veterinarian needs to complete a report of the professional services rendered.
Any expense or cost for professional services delivered at a market, along with other lawful charges, may be withheld or deducted from the consignor's sale proceeds. The marketing agency must clearly show the amount withheld/deducted and the reason.
Licensed market operators must file with the State Veterinarian a complete and accurate report of all cattle identified (tagged) at his/her place of business in connection with the market-cattle test program currently being conducted by state-federal regulatory agencies. Reports shall be forwarded to the State Veterinarian.
Unless specifically stated otherwise, the dealer is responsible for sending all required completed forms to the Office of the State Veterinarian within 10 days following the date of the event requiring the form. 345 IAC 7-3.5-14.
Livestock Market Facilities
All licensed market operators shall provide and maintain adequate and suitable facilities for loading, unloading, holding, identifying, segregating and otherwise handling livestock. Minimum requirements for facilities:
Pens of sufficient space and number to accommodate the safe and humane handling of all kinds of livestock moved through the facility.
Concrete (or other impermeable material) flooring in all pens and alleyways. Floors must be adequately drained, and conducive to regular cleaning and disinfection. All floors shall be free from holes, cracks or depressions.
Separate pen(s) for the yarding animals infected with a contagious, infectious or communicable disease, and in diseased condition. Pens must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each use.
Suitably sized chutes, constructed of durable material, for tagging/identifying animals. Tagging chute shall be located to provide minimum interference with routine handling and movement of livestock through the market.
Adequate lighting in all areas of the market to allow close observation or inspection of animals, where ever they are confined on the premises. 345 IAC 7-3.5-15.
Non-Ambulatory Livestock Handling, Care
Minimum standards of care for animals in markets:
Livestock housed at a market facility for more than 24 hours must have access to feed and water.
Implements to drive animals, such as electric prods, canes, whips, paddles or canvas straps, must be used only as reasonably necessary to handle or move livestock.
Market facilities in Indiana may not accept delivery of non-ambulatory (or "downer") livestock. Non-ambulatory animals may be unloaded for euthanization at the market. Written policies, procedures, and equipment must be in place to handle animals that become nonambulatory after delivery to the facility. Animals that become nonambulatory after arrival must be disposed of within 24 hours.
On Farm: When livestock becomes nonambulatory on the farm or en route to a market facility, BOAH recommends the animal be treated or disposed of by the owner as follows:
Delivered directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment;
Slaughtered on the farm in compliance with the Meat and Poultry Inspection, Humane Slaughter Act; or
Euthanized. 345 IAC 7-3.5-16.
Sale of Diseased Animals
The State Veterinarian may restrict the sale of any diseased animal to prevent the spread of disease, including restricting sale to a recognized slaughter establishment.
Quarantined animals may be sold/offered for sale at a market only for immediate slaughter, except by special permission of the State Veterinarian. These animals must be individually identified and cannot be removed from the sale premises unless accompanied by a written release on the proper BOAH form. The release form must be attached to the buyer's invoice or bill of sale and accompany the animal(s) to slaughter. 345 IAC 7-3.5-17.
A market facility must not allow sewage, drainage or waste water to collect to create an unnecessary public nuisance. Trash, bedding, manure or other waste solids may not collect on the premises. Weeds and accumulated junk which could harbor rodents must be eliminated. 345 IAC 7-3.5-18.
The market facility and its surroundings (including yards, pens, alleyways, chutes and all other equipment used for receiving, yarding, handling and otherwise selling livestock) shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner at all times.
Licensed market operators must provide on the premises (or have immediate access to) power spray or other disinfecting equipment. The equipment must be maintained in serviceable condition at all times. The State Veterinarian may require a market to be cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of disease. A market facility may be placed under temporary quarantine, if necessary, until the process is completed as directed.
All trucks, trailers or other conveyances used for transporting livestock shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition at all times. The State Veterinarian (or an authorized agent) may order any vehicle to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by the operator to prevent the spread of disease.
Disinfecting agents and methods shall meet the approval of the State Veterinarian. 345 IAC 7-3.5-19.
Failure to comply with the livestock dealer licensing law may result in criminal charges, fines, injunctions and the revocation or suspension of a license.
For more information about livestock dealer licensing consult the Livestock Dealer Act IC 15-2.1-14, and the dealer licensing rule 345 IAC 7-3.5.
For information about a United States Department of Agriculture Packers and Stockyards bond contact USDA-GIPSA.
To download a livestock dealer licensing form click here.
For more information about Board of Animal Health licenses contact the licensing division:
Call Board of Animal Health at 317/544-2400 during the BOAH's normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).
Write the Board of Animal Health, attention Licensing, 1202 E. 38th Street, Discovery Hall, Suite 100; Indianapolis, IN 46205-2898.
E-mail the Board of Animal Health, attention Licensing