Farmers and ranchers obviously have a huge workload running complex businesses. They may think of branding as just one of a multitude of tasks that must be taken care of during the course of managing the farm or ranch. When was the last time that you, as a farmer or rancher, reviewed the state laws pertaining to branding?
Under state law branding of livestock applies to cattle, horses and mules. Letters, numbers or a specialized logo or figure along with their location on the right or left shoulder, neck, rib, or hind quarter of the animal constitute a unique brand. The brand must be a unique combination of the letters or logo and its location; the term brand includes both the symbol and its location.
Brand registration is handled by the State Department of Agriculture. This agency maintains the official brand book for the state and farms and ranches need to re-register their brands every five years at the current cost plus pay a filing fee to the county clerk’s office. The Department of Agriculture issues a new and revised brand book every five years that is available for purchase. Registered brands that appear in this official publication are proof of livestock ownership.
The State Board of Agriculture rules upon the acceptability of a brand submitted for registration. Applicants for new brands are required to submit at least three distinct brands and three locations in their preferred order.
Owners of brands are allowed to transfer or sell their ownership but need to inform the State Department of Agriculture and pay the required transfer fee.
It is illegal for anyone else to use another’s registered brand or a similar brand that could be mistaken as a duplicate. It is against state law for an individual to brand or re-brand an animal that does not belong to the individual. The state Bureau of Investigation has jurisdiction over violations and investigations of livestock brands.
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