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Feds suspends North Dakota cattle trader for 10 years for alleged Packers and Stockyards violations

Brian Gader, a livestock marketer, from Napoleon, North Dakota, has consented to the federal Packers and Stockyards Act officials who claim he failed to pay $700,000, for cattle in a timely fashion. An administrative law judge suspended in his federal registration under the act for 10 years.

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Brian Gader, far right, has been suspended as a “registrant” under the federal Packers & Stockyards Act for ten years.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek file photo
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Brian Wayne Gader, a Napoleon, North Dakota cattle trader, doing business as Gader Cattle, has been suspended as a “registrant” under the federal Packers & Stockyards Act for ten years.

In a press release on Feb. 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it had “reached a consent decision” with Gader for “alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.” The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in December 2020 completed an investigation that found Gader had “failed to pay for livestock transactions totaling $697,587, including 508 head of livestock that were not delivered.”

According to the release and related documents, Gader consented to be “suspended as a registrant” under the Packers and Stockyards Act for ten years, but noted that the suspension “can be modified if Gader makes payment to the unpaid sellers.”

Significantly, the USDA press release leaves the unpaid sellers unnamed. The notice says the Packers and Stockyards Act requires “full payment by the close of the first business day following purchase and transfer of possession of” livestock. It referred question to Kraig Roesch of the Packers and Stockyards Division. Roesch did not immediately return messages.

A separate document from USDA officials said the consent and suspension was ordered Dec. 17, 2021. T hat consent decision and order said Gader had “willfully violated” the act. Gader “admits” to the “allegations” and “waives oral hearing and further procedure” and rights to seek “judicial review” or “challenge or contest the validity of this decision.”

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Administrative Law Judge Channing D. Strother ordered that Gader and “his agents and employees, directly or through any corporate or other device” shall “cease and desist” from:

  • Misrepresenting the sale of livestock by creating records that are not a true representation  of the ownership” at the time of sale.
  • Failing to deliver livestock that a buyer had paid for.
  • Failing to pay, when due, the full purchase price.

State actions

Read more about this case:
Napoleon, North Dakota, cattle buyer Brian Gader faces numerous legal challenges, including a theft charge in a cattle deal, has lost his license to purchase cattle and is accused of failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases. With debts in the millions, Gader, 65, says he is "working on" his issues.

Separately, Gader is charged with a Class A criminal felony for bouncing a check over $200,000 to a sale barn in December 2020. The case alleges Gader failed to pay Jim Ziegler, owner of Lake Region Livestock of Devils Lake.

On Feb. 18, 2021, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring a “temporary" cease and desist order against Gader, after complaints of non-payment surfaced. On March 24, 2021, they issued a “permanent” cease-and-desist order, revoking his license.

In a separate civil case in Logan County, at Napoleon, Gader admitted he owed nearly $490,0000 to Bar T Cattle Company of Walthill, Nebraska. Bar T claimed Gader charged them for cattle that didn’t exist, an accusation he has denied, through his lawyer. But Gader later admitted he owed the money to Bar T, and attempted to hand over land to the Bar T.

A bank later sued to enforce its lien on land involved with the deal. Bar T disputes the bank’s claim of a superior lien.

Criminal action

On May 18, 2021, Ramsey County States Attorney Beau Michael Cummings at Devils Lake, North Dakota, charged Gader with a Class A felony theft charge for writing a check that bounced to Jim Ziegler, then-owner of Lake Region Livestock at Devils Lake, North Dakota.

Cummings alleged Gader on Dec. 1, 2020, “knowingly” obtained “three loads of cattle” and wrote a check for $227,103.02, but the check didn’t go through.”

On Feb. 19, 2021 — more than two months after the bad check — Ziegler filed a complaint form to the USDA’s Packers & Stockyards Division in Des Moines, Iowa. Ziegler said that Gader had “settled all accounts but the one above.” Ziegler said he “paid it off” to the cattle suppliers but that Gader “never paid up” to reimburse him.

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Later, Ziegler claimed the amount of $227,103.02 against the bond. Ziegler said the case involved seven transactions, all on Dec. 1, 2020, at Lake Region Livestock.

On Oct. 13, 2021, Gader reached an agreement that delays prosecution on the felony criminal case. Northeast Circuit Judge Lonnie Olson accepted a “pretrial diversion agreement.”

Gader, then 65, pleaded not guilty to the felony, which — upon conviction — could lead to a maximum of 20 years in prison. Under the agreement, he agreed to the “factual basis for the alleged crime” as set out in the complaint, but at the same time denied committing the crime.The deal requires that Gader not commit a new felony, misdemeanor or infraction.

According to the agreement, the Ramsey County deal would unravel if the state found even “probable cause” that Gader commits a new “felony, misdemeanor or infraction” within the year. The state would only need to provide proof of copies of complaints or affidavits involving possible “new offenses or offenses.”

Ramsey County State’s Attorney Beau Michael Cummings on March 8, 2022, said that Gader had not yet paid off any of the quarter-million-dollar civil judgment to Ziegler. He said the USDA’s order is administrative — not criminal — and would not trigger a resumption of the criminal case. He said failing to pay the bill by Oct. 13, 2022, would trigger it.

Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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