Livestock brand registration
Radio interview source: John Hall, Extension Beef Specialist, University of Idaho
Horse and cattle owners have branded their animals for thousands of years. Nothing can match a permanent brand as a definitive mark of ownership when properly registered. Unbranded animals that are lost or stolen are almost impossible to legally identify.
John Hall is an extension beef specialist with the University of Idaho. He says not all states require brand registration, but it has benefits for everyone.
"Of course it's safety in terms of livestock security, and keeping livestock from being stolen or rustled," says Hall. "The other thing that I think is a benefit is it creates recognition for your animals. Especially if you're a smaller purebred operator, and people start to associate that brand with the quality of animals that you're producing, then that can be a side benefit."
Branding rules and requirements vary from state-to-state. Brand inspection boards are usually under the Department of Agriculture in each state, and guide you through the process.
"Usually you might pick a brand, but quite often what they'll have you do is give them several different options of brands that would be acceptable to you for your operation," says Hall. "They will then compare those to the brands that exist in the state brand book, and make sure there are no duplicate brands."
Hall says each state keeps track of its own brands. However, he notes a rancher in Montana could use the exact same brand as a cattle producer in Texas, because brands are only registered in one state.
Brand owners have to go through a renewal process every three-to-five-years. This allows the brand boards to recognize which brands are still current, and the people who are actively using them.
Find how to apply for a brand in your state
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