Depending on how you market cattle and where, by now you’re likely aware of the financial chaos wrought by Eastern Livestock Company, LLC, one of the nation’s largest livestock brokerage firms.

According to a statement issued by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) Nov. 10, Eastern began issuing unfunded checks to producers for livestock purchased by Eastern in different markets on or around Nov. 3, 2010.

In an update to members last week, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) explained, “…according to USDA, Eastern operates in 11 states across the Mid-South, Midwest and West. It has been reported in the news media that Eastern may owe cattle producers as much as $130 million. GIPSA has an open investigation on this issue. However, NCBA is working with the involved parties and legal counsel to sort through the facts of this issue.”

Likewise, according to a statement at the website for the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) last Thursday, “...LMA’s CEO Mark Mackey was in New Albany, IN, today and was able to meet with Court Appointed Receiver, Elizabeth Lynch. LMA has submitted an action plan to the receiver addressing numerous scenarios involving Eastern Livestock Company. LMA has also learned that a forensic data-recovery team is on site at Eastern and is in the process of reconstructing all Eastern transactions. It is very important to note that no livestock connected to Eastern should be moved or accepted without full legal counsel.”

Producers who haven’t received payment due from Eastern are encouraged to contact the GIPSA Midwestern Regional Office, Des Moines, IA, at 515-323-2579 for complete info on available financial protections, and for forms necessary for filing a bond claim on payments due from Eastern.

According to GIPSA, bond claims must be filed within 60 days from the date of the transaction on which the claim is based.

In addition to NCBA and LMA, state organizations, including the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) offer recommendations for producers who have already shipped cattle and not received payment, as well as for producers who have contracted cattle to Eastern.

Learn more at www.kla.org/