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Livestock Dealers Licenses

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:

  1. Livestock purchases by an individual for his/her own use other than resale on the livestock market.

  2. Distributors of livestock dedicated to improvement of breeding practices or experimental procedures, when ownership is in whole or in part a distributor or breeder.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Licenses Classifications

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health issues livestock dealer licenses in three classifications:

  1. Market facility dealer license: for stockyards, packers, concentration points and livestock auction markets.

  2. Individual dealer license: for individual dealers and market agencies not operating as a marketing facility.

  3. 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 they hold 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. IC 15-2.1-14-4 and 345 IAC 7-3.5-5.

  • 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.

There is currently no fee for a license.

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.

Bond Requirements

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:

1. All bonds must be at least $10,000.
2. 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.

Weighing Facilities

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:

  1. Description and identification of each animal or group/lot received for sale or consignment.

  2. Name and address of the seller or consignor.

  3. Date animals were received.

  4. Name and address of the buyer or consignee.

  5. Description of each animal or group/lot sold to each buyer.

  6. Price paid for each animal and, if sold by weight, the number and live weight for each animal sold.

  7. Record of individual animal identification, including ear tags, ear notches, back tags, tattoos or brands.

  8. Any commissions or charges withheld or deducted, and net proceeds paid to the seller or consignor.

  9. If tested, individual test records, health records and certificates of veterinary inspection on animals.

  10. 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, goats, cervids, equine: 5 years; all other species: 3 years.

Recordkeeping for Markets

Reports for out-of-state animals that are moving through Indiana markets to Indiana farms must be submitted to BOAH.

Reports may be submitted as a spreadsheet (see printable/downloadable suggested formats below) or in another, legible format. Reports must contain the following information: Name and address of the source; number of head; all official ID numbers; species/breed; sex (if known); and name and address of the animals' destinations.

Submit reports via email to: KaGunn@boah.IN.gov or via fax to 317-974-2011. Reports are due on the first and third Fridays of each month. (For holidays: Submit on following Monday.)

Record for out-of-state animals received (pdf)

Record for out-of-state animals received (excel)


Failure to comply with the livestock dealer licensing law may result in criminal charges, fines, injunctions and the revocation or suspension of a license.

More Information

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 Agricultural Marketing Service.

To download a livestock dealer licensing form click here.

For more information about Board of Animal Health licenses contact the licensing division:

  1. 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.).

  2. Write the Board of Animal Health, attention Licensing, 1202 E. 38th Street, Discovery Hall, Suite 100; Indianapolis, IN 46205-2898.

  3. E-mail the Board of Animal Health, attention Licensing.