Michigan Livestock Dealers and Market License Details & FAQ

  • Expires: Yearly on September 30th
  • Costs:
  • Class I - Livestock Auction $400
  • Class II - Buying Station $ 250
  • Class III - Collection Point/Dealer/Broker/Agent $50
  • Class IV - Livestock Trucker $25
  • Contact: Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development - Animal Industry Division at 517-284-5769

Q: Who needs a Livestock Dealer License?

A: You will need a livestock dealer license if you will be doing any of the following:

  • Operating as a Livestock Auction Market.
    • A livestock auction market is defined as: Any livestock congregation point where livestock (including horses, ponies, mules, cattle, calves swine, sheep, poultry, privately owned cervids, ratites, aquaculture species, and goats) are accepted on consignment and the auction method is used in the marketing of the animals.

* Please note that a public auction of farm goods by a farmer is not included in this definition of a livestock auction.

  • Operating a Buying Station
    • A Buying Station is defined as: Any concentration point, other than a public stockyard, where livestock are congregated and purchased by the owner or agent of the facility for movement or sale. Are operating as an Agent. An Agent is any person, firm,association, co-partnership or corporation buying,receiving, selling, exchanging, transporting, negotiating or soliciting sale, resale, exchange, transportation or transfer of any animals for on behalf of someone.
  • Operating as a Dealer or Broker
    • A Dealer or Broker is any person, co-partnership, association, or corporation engaged in the business of buying, receiving, selling, exchanging, negotiating, or soliciting sale, resale, exchange, transportation or transfer of any such animals.

Please note that the following are exempt and do not need a Livestock Dealer License:

    1. Other persons subject to exemptions approved by the director.
    2. Occasional held consignment sales sponsored and conducted by a breed association, 4H or FFA group, county fair or youth fair.
    3. That part of the business of a farmer which consists of buying or receiving animals for feeding, grazing, and feeding purposes and the sale or disposal of such animals after feeding or grazing of not less than 21 days
    4. Any butcher, packer, or processor to whom animals are delivered for slaughter.
    5. Any person, association, copartnership, or corporation selling animals which have been raised on their premise.
    6. Any person, association, co-partnership, or corporation who or which, by dispersal sale, is permanently discontinuing the business of farming dairying, breeding, or feeding animals
    7. Any railroad or airline transporting animals.
  •  Operating as a livestock trucker.
    • A livestock trucker is a person not otherwise licensed under this act that engages in the business of transporting livestock not owned by the person or the persons employer from one premises to another.

Please note that the following are exempt and do not need a Livestock Trucker License:

  1. Hauling livestock on an occasional basis for persons participating in a livestock exhibition, fair, trail ride, youth livestock event, or similar activity.
  2. Hauling livestock on an incidental basis in connection with another business, such as a veterinary practice or a stable operation, which is operated by that person and which does not ordinarily involve the sale of livestock
  3. Hauling livestock for another person fewer than 6 times within the preceding 12 months.

Q: What fees are required in order to operate as a Livestock Dealer in Michigan?

A:                 Class I (Livestock Auction) $400

                    Class II (Buying Station) $250

                    Class III (Collection Point, Dealer, Broker, Agent) $50

                    Class IV (Livestock Trucker) $25


                    Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing livestock Dealers:

                 Act 284 of 1937: Licensing Livestock Dealers

                 Regulation No. 144. Claims Against Livestock Auctions 

                 Act 466 of 1988: The Animal Industry Act

                 Livestock Handling Guide

                 Livestock Trucking Guide 


*If you have not already done so, contact the United States Department of Agriculture, Packers and Stockyards at 515-323-2579 for federal laws and requirements related to livestock licensing and bonding.


Q: Arranging Bonding.
A: In accordance with state law, MDARD must be listed as the Trustee or Beneficiary for the bond. Bonding for a livestock auction is based on the average gross weekly sales from the previous license year, and must be at least $1,500 under state law.


Gross weekly sales to the best of their ability due to the lack of prior year sales data. Please note that federal requirements may differ and that you will need to meet the more restrictive requirement. Be sure to fill out all fields. If a section is not applicable, please put a line through that section.


Submit the completed application, proof of bonding (you only need to submit proof of bonding if you will be operating a

license fee(s) payable to:

State of Michigan
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
P.O. Box 30776
Lansing, MI 48909-8276

If you are applying for a Class III or IV license, a license will be issued once a completed application is received and processed. If you are applying for a Class I or Class II license, a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) employee will contact you to verify that your facility is ready for inspection once a completed application (and bonding, if applicable) has been received and processed. Once the facility has passed inspection and managerial review, a license will be  issued and mailed.
*Please note that if there are problems found either by the inspector or the manager, you will be given suggestions for improvement as well as a re-inspection date.


Q: How long does it take to process my first-time application?

A: MDARD strives to provide a timely response to Livestock Dealer applications, however, it typically takes 4-8 weeks to receive a license. Remember, you may be denied if your application is incomplete for any of the following reasons:

  • If portions of the application are left blank, the application will be returned to the sender.
  • If the application is received without the license fee, the application will be returned to the sender.
  • If payment is received without an application.
    •  MDARD collects fees for many different types of licenses and fees. We have no way of knowing what the fee is for if there is no application.
  • It will not be processed until bonding has been received.

If you will be operating a livestock auction, or buying station, your license cannot be issued until you pass an inspection. As such, your license may also be delayed if your facility does not pass inspection or is not fully constructed. If your facility does not pass inspection, the department will provide feedback at the time of inspection for improvement as well as a re-inspection date.


Q: If we have sent in an application, when can we begin operating a Livestock Dealer License?

A: Once you receive your license from MDARD, you may then begin to operate as a Livestock Dealer. You must not operate a collection station until you have received your license. In addition, you must not operate as a dealer, agent, broker or livestock trucker until you have received your license.


Q: When does my Livestock Dealer License expire?

A: Annually on September 30th.


Q: Is there anything I can do to speed the issuance of my license?

A: You can help speed the processing of your application by being sure your application is complete and includes all the information that is applicable by thoroughly reviewing the laws, regulations, and other documents; and by making sure your facility is constructed and ready for inspection.


Q: What is an Annual Market Report?

A: If you operate a livestock auction market, each year you must submit a copy of the average weekly sales for the totals auctioned over the past year. This report is called the  Auction Market Annual Report. This report must be received by the department no later than March 31st of the year compiled. You will receive a mailing each year, typically in December, reminding you of the need to submit this information as well as a copy of the Department's reporting form will be used to verify that you are adequately bonded.


The Livestock Dealer Bonding Formula should be referenced to complete the Auction Market Annual Report form.

Q: What should I do if there are changes in agents or company ownership, name, or address?

A: A business is issued a license. If there is a change in business address or ownership, the license does not becomes inactive. When such a change occurs, the applicant must notify the department within 5 days after that change. You must submit a new application and license fee immediately. We will need to conduct a new inspection (if Livestock Auction, Collection Point, or  Buying Station) to make sure that the facility meets the requirements of the regulations. In addition, we will review the requirements with the new owner at the visit. Once the facility has passed inspection and licensure has been approved by the program manager, a license will be issued for the new business location or owner. Once the license is received, the business may then operate as a Livestock Dealer.


*Please note that Class III (Dealer, Broker, Agent) or Class IV (livestock trucker) does NOT need to submit a license fee if there is a change in address. However, they still must submit an updated application.


If your business changes its business name under which it is licensed, but remains under the same ownership and address, please submit a completed copy of the application reflecting the changes immediately so that the license and records can be updated accordingly. You will receive an updated license in the mail reflecting the change.


Likewise, if you have had a change in agent's currently authorized to conduct business under your license, please notify us of that change immediately so that the license, and records can be updated. You will be issued a new license, and new agent cards if you have added additional individuals.

Related Documents
Livestock License Application Instructions PDF icon