Who pays attention to who owns the critter? | TSLN.com

Who pays attention to who owns the critter?

Jack McCulloh

Cattle ownership is decided one critter at a time. No law requires a critter to be branded; but, if they are the owner of the brand is assumed to own the animal unless the person who has possession has a bill of sale from the brand owner. The search for the true owner can get complex if the animal has been bought and sold several times and has several brands.

The function of inspecting cattle for ownership (in South Dakota) has shifted to the management of the Brand Board in Pierre.

In state government the last two fiscal years – 2007 through 2009 – the budget of the Brand Board has jumped 103 percent. The staff has increased from four to 40, the investment council income the Board receives has been cut in half to $20,000 a year, the number of livestock recovered has reduced by 20 percent and the investigations and arrests for violating the law have been reduced.

One significant fiscal change to come about by changing from a contractor is a percentage of the inspection fees off the top is assessed to help pay state government administrative costs. The independent contractor did not pay these fees to the state.

The Brand Board is in a transition from a private nonprofit contractor doing the inspection work to a new era where the inspection works is a new function for the Board in Pierre.

Larry Stearns is the staff director for the Board and Wray Shouldis is the Chief Brand Inspector. Their toll free phone number is (877) 574-0054.

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The major change the Brand Board has implemented is changing the work load of inspectors and increasing the wage scale and health and retirement benefits to those comparable to a state employee. However, these increases are paid for by fees, not state general tax funds, because the Board is not part of state government. It is a project run for cattlemen, paid for by cattlemen and controlled by Governor’s appointees. The law stipulates that members of the Board terms are staggered and one member’s term expires each year.

Brand Board members were all appointed by Governor Rounds in one round when he dismissed four of the five members. Governor Janklow refused to appoint anyone to the Brand Board (and many other Boards and Commissions) during his terms as governor. A Brand Board member when appointed is expected to serve until replaced, so members held over and served until dismissed by Governor Rounds. The board appointed by Rounds was adamant the nonprofit organization that had a contract to do inspection services should be replaced because the work could be managed better for no more cost. They did not contract for inspection services for the year 2008 and took over management of the inspection program.

The advantage of this change is owners of brands can seek a statewide program that will improve protection of livestock. The nonprofit organization did not have the political stature to get the legislature to approve statewide inspection – and a governor does.

The state law on ownership inspection over a 50-year period was fine tuned to meet the needs of fenced range country. The Brand Board with an office in Pierre took care of the statewide recording of brands and publishing a brand book and annual supplements and employed law enforcement personnel to investigate violations of the law. There are now over 25,000 brands registered that pay the following fees:

– Brand Registration – $25 plus $10 for each year remaining in current brand renew period.

– Brand Transfer – $25

– Brand Renewal – $50 and occurs every five years, which are years ending in “0” or “5” such as 2005, 2010…

When a nonprofit organization contracted to do ownership inspection committees of cattlemen met quarterly at their own expense to supervise, improve and monitor the program, they felt they needed to constantly upgrade the program to accommodate marketing trends and the needs of livestock owners. Many personnel working in the program as inspectors were paid on the basis of the number of head they looked at in their neighborhood and did not draw a salary. These inspectors are being replaced by personnel that will be paid a salary. The contractor conducted a transparent program and issued monthly reports showing the financial cost of the service including the cost per head each month.

Inspectors sort out co-mingling livestock and make sure the brand owner received the check for his brand on the critter. The contractor turned over to the state Brand Board the money on animals sold whose ownership could not be established at the time of sale.

The Brand Board is working with the legislature to keep the state law current.

During the 2009 legislative session the Board is proposing five separate pices of legislation calling for changes. The proposed laws deal with: bills of sale, out of state brands, shippers permit, voluntary horse inspection ad rewards.

Cattlemen statewide do not believe ownership identification should be discontinued and many have ideas to improve the program. Cattlemen strongly believe auction markets East River should have a system of ownership verification to protect them against theft and fraud. Counties east of the Missouri River in South Dakota do not have ownership inspection when selling to new owners. Livestock losses are sometimes covered by insurance.

Cattlemen are being asked by delegates from statewide organizations working in a committee co-Chaired by Lyndell Peterson, Hermosa, phone 342-5595, and Dan Lindblom, Rapid City, phone 343-0580, how they want the inspection program improved and what they expect for the 80 cent a head inspection fees.

Cattlemen believe the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) should fund and be an important part of all investigations dealing with livestock theft, fraud and violating the brand laws.

West River cattlemen have and use the brand for ownership purposes. Many East River cattlemen have a brand but are denied the benefit of a brand inspection program for ownership verification. Cattlemen do not believe lenders can be secure in their mortgages on livestock without ownership identification and third party verification when selling.

Inside the ownership inspection area, an average is about two percent of livestock sold are “held” for proof of ownership. A “hold” is created when a critter is sold on which the inspector has a question of ownership of the person who brought the critter to market based on the brand or in some cases no brand.

If the seller cannot be spoken to about the finding of the inspector, the critter is sold, and the proceeds are held and when the owner is established, the owner is paid. If the owner cannot be determined at the market in a period of time, the money is transferred to the Brand Board office in Pierre and is placed in a fund from which the owner can make a claim. If no owner makes a claim the money can be spent by the Brand Board for specific purposes.

Cattle ownership is decided one critter at a time. No law requires a critter to be branded; but, if they are the owner of the brand is assumed to own the animal unless the person who has possession has a bill of sale from the brand owner. The search for the true owner can get complex if the animal has been bought and sold several times and has several brands.

The function of inspecting cattle for ownership (in South Dakota) has shifted to the management of the Brand Board in Pierre.

In state government the last two fiscal years – 2007 through 2009 – the budget of the Brand Board has jumped 103 percent. The staff has increased from four to 40, the investment council income the Board receives has been cut in half to $20,000 a year, the number of livestock recovered has reduced by 20 percent and the investigations and arrests for violating the law have been reduced.

One significant fiscal change to come about by changing from a contractor is a percentage of the inspection fees off the top is assessed to help pay state government administrative costs. The independent contractor did not pay these fees to the state.

The Brand Board is in a transition from a private nonprofit contractor doing the inspection work to a new era where the inspection works is a new function for the Board in Pierre.

Larry Stearns is the staff director for the Board and Wray Shouldis is the Chief Brand Inspector. Their toll free phone number is (877) 574-0054.

The major change the Brand Board has implemented is changing the work load of inspectors and increasing the wage scale and health and retirement benefits to those comparable to a state employee. However, these increases are paid for by fees, not state general tax funds, because the Board is not part of state government. It is a project run for cattlemen, paid for by cattlemen and controlled by Governor’s appointees. The law stipulates that members of the Board terms are staggered and one member’s term expires each year.

Brand Board members were all appointed by Governor Rounds in one round when he dismissed four of the five members. Governor Janklow refused to appoint anyone to the Brand Board (and many other Boards and Commissions) during his terms as governor. A Brand Board member when appointed is expected to serve until replaced, so members held over and served until dismissed by Governor Rounds. The board appointed by Rounds was adamant the nonprofit organization that had a contract to do inspection services should be replaced because the work could be managed better for no more cost. They did not contract for inspection services for the year 2008 and took over management of the inspection program.

The advantage of this change is owners of brands can seek a statewide program that will improve protection of livestock. The nonprofit organization did not have the political stature to get the legislature to approve statewide inspection – and a governor does.

The state law on ownership inspection over a 50-year period was fine tuned to meet the needs of fenced range country. The Brand Board with an office in Pierre took care of the statewide recording of brands and publishing a brand book and annual supplements and employed law enforcement personnel to investigate violations of the law. There are now over 25,000 brands registered that pay the following fees:

– Brand Registration – $25 plus $10 for each year remaining in current brand renew period.

– Brand Transfer – $25

– Brand Renewal – $50 and occurs every five years, which are years ending in “0” or “5” such as 2005, 2010…

When a nonprofit organization contracted to do ownership inspection committees of cattlemen met quarterly at their own expense to supervise, improve and monitor the program, they felt they needed to constantly upgrade the program to accommodate marketing trends and the needs of livestock owners. Many personnel working in the program as inspectors were paid on the basis of the number of head they looked at in their neighborhood and did not draw a salary. These inspectors are being replaced by personnel that will be paid a salary. The contractor conducted a transparent program and issued monthly reports showing the financial cost of the service including the cost per head each month.

Inspectors sort out co-mingling livestock and make sure the brand owner received the check for his brand on the critter. The contractor turned over to the state Brand Board the money on animals sold whose ownership could not be established at the time of sale.

The Brand Board is working with the legislature to keep the state law current.

During the 2009 legislative session the Board is proposing five separate pices of legislation calling for changes. The proposed laws deal with: bills of sale, out of state brands, shippers permit, voluntary horse inspection ad rewards.

Cattlemen statewide do not believe ownership identification should be discontinued and many have ideas to improve the program. Cattlemen strongly believe auction markets East River should have a system of ownership verification to protect them against theft and fraud. Counties east of the Missouri River in South Dakota do not have ownership inspection when selling to new owners. Livestock losses are sometimes covered by insurance.

Cattlemen are being asked by delegates from statewide organizations working in a committee co-Chaired by Lyndell Peterson, Hermosa, phone 342-5595, and Dan Lindblom, Rapid City, phone 343-0580, how they want the inspection program improved and what they expect for the 80 cent a head inspection fees.

Cattlemen believe the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) should fund and be an important part of all investigations dealing with livestock theft, fraud and violating the brand laws.

West River cattlemen have and use the brand for ownership purposes. Many East River cattlemen have a brand but are denied the benefit of a brand inspection program for ownership verification. Cattlemen do not believe lenders can be secure in their mortgages on livestock without ownership identification and third party verification when selling.

Inside the ownership inspection area, an average is about two percent of livestock sold are “held” for proof of ownership. A “hold” is created when a critter is sold on which the inspector has a question of ownership of the person who brought the critter to market based on the brand or in some cases no brand.

If the seller cannot be spoken to about the finding of the inspector, the critter is sold, and the proceeds are held and when the owner is established, the owner is paid. If the owner cannot be determined at the market in a period of time, the money is transferred to the Brand Board office in Pierre and is placed in a fund from which the owner can make a claim. If no owner makes a claim the money can be spent by the Brand Board for specific purposes.

Cattle ownership is decided one critter at a time. No law requires a critter to be branded; but, if they are the owner of the brand is assumed to own the animal unless the person who has possession has a bill of sale from the brand owner. The search for the true owner can get complex if the animal has been bought and sold several times and has several brands.

The function of inspecting cattle for ownership (in South Dakota) has shifted to the management of the Brand Board in Pierre.

In state government the last two fiscal years – 2007 through 2009 – the budget of the Brand Board has jumped 103 percent. The staff has increased from four to 40, the investment council income the Board receives has been cut in half to $20,000 a year, the number of livestock recovered has reduced by 20 percent and the investigations and arrests for violating the law have been reduced.

One significant fiscal change to come about by changing from a contractor is a percentage of the inspection fees off the top is assessed to help pay state government administrative costs. The independent contractor did not pay these fees to the state.

The Brand Board is in a transition from a private nonprofit contractor doing the inspection work to a new era where the inspection works is a new function for the Board in Pierre.

Larry Stearns is the staff director for the Board and Wray Shouldis is the Chief Brand Inspector. Their toll free phone number is (877) 574-0054.

The major change the Brand Board has implemented is changing the work load of inspectors and increasing the wage scale and health and retirement benefits to those comparable to a state employee. However, these increases are paid for by fees, not state general tax funds, because the Board is not part of state government. It is a project run for cattlemen, paid for by cattlemen and controlled by Governor’s appointees. The law stipulates that members of the Board terms are staggered and one member’s term expires each year.

Brand Board members were all appointed by Governor Rounds in one round when he dismissed four of the five members. Governor Janklow refused to appoint anyone to the Brand Board (and many other Boards and Commissions) during his terms as governor. A Brand Board member when appointed is expected to serve until replaced, so members held over and served until dismissed by Governor Rounds. The board appointed by Rounds was adamant the nonprofit organization that had a contract to do inspection services should be replaced because the work could be managed better for no more cost. They did not contract for inspection services for the year 2008 and took over management of the inspection program.

The advantage of this change is owners of brands can seek a statewide program that will improve protection of livestock. The nonprofit organization did not have the political stature to get the legislature to approve statewide inspection – and a governor does.

The state law on ownership inspection over a 50-year period was fine tuned to meet the needs of fenced range country. The Brand Board with an office in Pierre took care of the statewide recording of brands and publishing a brand book and annual supplements and employed law enforcement personnel to investigate violations of the law. There are now over 25,000 brands registered that pay the following fees:

– Brand Registration – $25 plus $10 for each year remaining in current brand renew period.

– Brand Transfer – $25

– Brand Renewal – $50 and occurs every five years, which are years ending in “0” or “5” such as 2005, 2010…

When a nonprofit organization contracted to do ownership inspection committees of cattlemen met quarterly at their own expense to supervise, improve and monitor the program, they felt they needed to constantly upgrade the program to accommodate marketing trends and the needs of livestock owners. Many personnel working in the program as inspectors were paid on the basis of the number of head they looked at in their neighborhood and did not draw a salary. These inspectors are being replaced by personnel that will be paid a salary. The contractor conducted a transparent program and issued monthly reports showing the financial cost of the service including the cost per head each month.

Inspectors sort out co-mingling livestock and make sure the brand owner received the check for his brand on the critter. The contractor turned over to the state Brand Board the money on animals sold whose ownership could not be established at the time of sale.

The Brand Board is working with the legislature to keep the state law current.

During the 2009 legislative session the Board is proposing five separate pices of legislation calling for changes. The proposed laws deal with: bills of sale, out of state brands, shippers permit, voluntary horse inspection ad rewards.

Cattlemen statewide do not believe ownership identification should be discontinued and many have ideas to improve the program. Cattlemen strongly believe auction markets East River should have a system of ownership verification to protect them against theft and fraud. Counties east of the Missouri River in South Dakota do not have ownership inspection when selling to new owners. Livestock losses are sometimes covered by insurance.

Cattlemen are being asked by delegates from statewide organizations working in a committee co-Chaired by Lyndell Peterson, Hermosa, phone 342-5595, and Dan Lindblom, Rapid City, phone 343-0580, how they want the inspection program improved and what they expect for the 80 cent a head inspection fees.

Cattlemen believe the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) should fund and be an important part of all investigations dealing with livestock theft, fraud and violating the brand laws.

West River cattlemen have and use the brand for ownership purposes. Many East River cattlemen have a brand but are denied the benefit of a brand inspection program for ownership verification. Cattlemen do not believe lenders can be secure in their mortgages on livestock without ownership identification and third party verification when selling.

Inside the ownership inspection area, an average is about two percent of livestock sold are “held” for proof of ownership. A “hold” is created when a critter is sold on which the inspector has a question of ownership of the person who brought the critter to market based on the brand or in some cases no brand.

If the seller cannot be spoken to about the finding of the inspector, the critter is sold, and the proceeds are held and when the owner is established, the owner is paid. If the owner cannot be determined at the market in a period of time, the money is transferred to the Brand Board office in Pierre and is placed in a fund from which the owner can make a claim. If no owner makes a claim the money can be spent by the Brand Board for specific purposes.

Cattle ownership is decided one critter at a time. No law requires a critter to be branded; but, if they are the owner of the brand is assumed to own the animal unless the person who has possession has a bill of sale from the brand owner. The search for the true owner can get complex if the animal has been bought and sold several times and has several brands.

The function of inspecting cattle for ownership (in South Dakota) has shifted to the management of the Brand Board in Pierre.

In state government the last two fiscal years – 2007 through 2009 – the budget of the Brand Board has jumped 103 percent. The staff has increased from four to 40, the investment council income the Board receives has been cut in half to $20,000 a year, the number of livestock recovered has reduced by 20 percent and the investigations and arrests for violating the law have been reduced.

One significant fiscal change to come about by changing from a contractor is a percentage of the inspection fees off the top is assessed to help pay state government administrative costs. The independent contractor did not pay these fees to the state.

The Brand Board is in a transition from a private nonprofit contractor doing the inspection work to a new era where the inspection works is a new function for the Board in Pierre.

Larry Stearns is the staff director for the Board and Wray Shouldis is the Chief Brand Inspector. Their toll free phone number is (877) 574-0054.

The major change the Brand Board has implemented is changing the work load of inspectors and increasing the wage scale and health and retirement benefits to those comparable to a state employee. However, these increases are paid for by fees, not state general tax funds, because the Board is not part of state government. It is a project run for cattlemen, paid for by cattlemen and controlled by Governor’s appointees. The law stipulates that members of the Board terms are staggered and one member’s term expires each year.

Brand Board members were all appointed by Governor Rounds in one round when he dismissed four of the five members. Governor Janklow refused to appoint anyone to the Brand Board (and many other Boards and Commissions) during his terms as governor. A Brand Board member when appointed is expected to serve until replaced, so members held over and served until dismissed by Governor Rounds. The board appointed by Rounds was adamant the nonprofit organization that had a contract to do inspection services should be replaced because the work could be managed better for no more cost. They did not contract for inspection services for the year 2008 and took over management of the inspection program.

The advantage of this change is owners of brands can seek a statewide program that will improve protection of livestock. The nonprofit organization did not have the political stature to get the legislature to approve statewide inspection – and a governor does.

The state law on ownership inspection over a 50-year period was fine tuned to meet the needs of fenced range country. The Brand Board with an office in Pierre took care of the statewide recording of brands and publishing a brand book and annual supplements and employed law enforcement personnel to investigate violations of the law. There are now over 25,000 brands registered that pay the following fees:

– Brand Registration – $25 plus $10 for each year remaining in current brand renew period.

– Brand Transfer – $25

– Brand Renewal – $50 and occurs every five years, which are years ending in “0” or “5” such as 2005, 2010…

When a nonprofit organization contracted to do ownership inspection committees of cattlemen met quarterly at their own expense to supervise, improve and monitor the program, they felt they needed to constantly upgrade the program to accommodate marketing trends and the needs of livestock owners. Many personnel working in the program as inspectors were paid on the basis of the number of head they looked at in their neighborhood and did not draw a salary. These inspectors are being replaced by personnel that will be paid a salary. The contractor conducted a transparent program and issued monthly reports showing the financial cost of the service including the cost per head each month.

Inspectors sort out co-mingling livestock and make sure the brand owner received the check for his brand on the critter. The contractor turned over to the state Brand Board the money on animals sold whose ownership could not be established at the time of sale.

The Brand Board is working with the legislature to keep the state law current.

During the 2009 legislative session the Board is proposing five separate pices of legislation calling for changes. The proposed laws deal with: bills of sale, out of state brands, shippers permit, voluntary horse inspection ad rewards.

Cattlemen statewide do not believe ownership identification should be discontinued and many have ideas to improve the program. Cattlemen strongly believe auction markets East River should have a system of ownership verification to protect them against theft and fraud. Counties east of the Missouri River in South Dakota do not have ownership inspection when selling to new owners. Livestock losses are sometimes covered by insurance.

Cattlemen are being asked by delegates from statewide organizations working in a committee co-Chaired by Lyndell Peterson, Hermosa, phone 342-5595, and Dan Lindblom, Rapid City, phone 343-0580, how they want the inspection program improved and what they expect for the 80 cent a head inspection fees.

Cattlemen believe the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) should fund and be an important part of all investigations dealing with livestock theft, fraud and violating the brand laws.

West River cattlemen have and use the brand for ownership purposes. Many East River cattlemen have a brand but are denied the benefit of a brand inspection program for ownership verification. Cattlemen do not believe lenders can be secure in their mortgages on livestock without ownership identification and third party verification when selling.

Inside the ownership inspection area, an average is about two percent of livestock sold are “held” for proof of ownership. A “hold” is created when a critter is sold on which the inspector has a question of ownership of the person who brought the critter to market based on the brand or in some cases no brand.

If the seller cannot be spoken to about the finding of the inspector, the critter is sold, and the proceeds are held and when the owner is established, the owner is paid. If the owner cannot be determined at the market in a period of time, the money is transferred to the Brand Board office in Pierre and is placed in a fund from which the owner can make a claim. If no owner makes a claim the money can be spent by the Brand Board for specific purposes.

Cattle ownership is decided one critter at a time. No law requires a critter to be branded; but, if they are the owner of the brand is assumed to own the animal unless the person who has possession has a bill of sale from the brand owner. The search for the true owner can get complex if the animal has been bought and sold several times and has several brands.

The function of inspecting cattle for ownership (in South Dakota) has shifted to the management of the Brand Board in Pierre.

In state government the last two fiscal years – 2007 through 2009 – the budget of the Brand Board has jumped 103 percent. The staff has increased from four to 40, the investment council income the Board receives has been cut in half to $20,000 a year, the number of livestock recovered has reduced by 20 percent and the investigations and arrests for violating the law have been reduced.

One significant fiscal change to come about by changing from a contractor is a percentage of the inspection fees off the top is assessed to help pay state government administrative costs. The independent contractor did not pay these fees to the state.

The Brand Board is in a transition from a private nonprofit contractor doing the inspection work to a new era where the inspection works is a new function for the Board in Pierre.

Larry Stearns is the staff director for the Board and Wray Shouldis is the Chief Brand Inspector. Their toll free phone number is (877) 574-0054.

The major change the Brand Board has implemented is changing the work load of inspectors and increasing the wage scale and health and retirement benefits to those comparable to a state employee. However, these increases are paid for by fees, not state general tax funds, because the Board is not part of state government. It is a project run for cattlemen, paid for by cattlemen and controlled by Governor’s appointees. The law stipulates that members of the Board terms are staggered and one member’s term expires each year.

Brand Board members were all appointed by Governor Rounds in one round when he dismissed four of the five members. Governor Janklow refused to appoint anyone to the Brand Board (and many other Boards and Commissions) during his terms as governor. A Brand Board member when appointed is expected to serve until replaced, so members held over and served until dismissed by Governor Rounds. The board appointed by Rounds was adamant the nonprofit organization that had a contract to do inspection services should be replaced because the work could be managed better for no more cost. They did not contract for inspection services for the year 2008 and took over management of the inspection program.

The advantage of this change is owners of brands can seek a statewide program that will improve protection of livestock. The nonprofit organization did not have the political stature to get the legislature to approve statewide inspection – and a governor does.

The state law on ownership inspection over a 50-year period was fine tuned to meet the needs of fenced range country. The Brand Board with an office in Pierre took care of the statewide recording of brands and publishing a brand book and annual supplements and employed law enforcement personnel to investigate violations of the law. There are now over 25,000 brands registered that pay the following fees:

– Brand Registration – $25 plus $10 for each year remaining in current brand renew period.

– Brand Transfer – $25

– Brand Renewal – $50 and occurs every five years, which are years ending in “0” or “5” such as 2005, 2010…

When a nonprofit organization contracted to do ownership inspection committees of cattlemen met quarterly at their own expense to supervise, improve and monitor the program, they felt they needed to constantly upgrade the program to accommodate marketing trends and the needs of livestock owners. Many personnel working in the program as inspectors were paid on the basis of the number of head they looked at in their neighborhood and did not draw a salary. These inspectors are being replaced by personnel that will be paid a salary. The contractor conducted a transparent program and issued monthly reports showing the financial cost of the service including the cost per head each month.

Inspectors sort out co-mingling livestock and make sure the brand owner received the check for his brand on the critter. The contractor turned over to the state Brand Board the money on animals sold whose ownership could not be established at the time of sale.

The Brand Board is working with the legislature to keep the state law current.

During the 2009 legislative session the Board is proposing five separate pices of legislation calling for changes. The proposed laws deal with: bills of sale, out of state brands, shippers permit, voluntary horse inspection ad rewards.

Cattlemen statewide do not believe ownership identification should be discontinued and many have ideas to improve the program. Cattlemen strongly believe auction markets East River should have a system of ownership verification to protect them against theft and fraud. Counties east of the Missouri River in South Dakota do not have ownership inspection when selling to new owners. Livestock losses are sometimes covered by insurance.

Cattlemen are being asked by delegates from statewide organizations working in a committee co-Chaired by Lyndell Peterson, Hermosa, phone 342-5595, and Dan Lindblom, Rapid City, phone 343-0580, how they want the inspection program improved and what they expect for the 80 cent a head inspection fees.

Cattlemen believe the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) should fund and be an important part of all investigations dealing with livestock theft, fraud and violating the brand laws.

West River cattlemen have and use the brand for ownership purposes. Many East River cattlemen have a brand but are denied the benefit of a brand inspection program for ownership verification. Cattlemen do not believe lenders can be secure in their mortgages on livestock without ownership identification and third party verification when selling.

Inside the ownership inspection area, an average is about two percent of livestock sold are “held” for proof of ownership. A “hold” is created when a critter is sold on which the inspector has a question of ownership of the person who brought the critter to market based on the brand or in some cases no brand.

If the seller cannot be spoken to about the finding of the inspector, the critter is sold, and the proceeds are held and when the owner is established, the owner is paid. If the owner cannot be determined at the market in a period of time, the money is transferred to the Brand Board office in Pierre and is placed in a fund from which the owner can make a claim. If no owner makes a claim the money can be spent by the Brand Board for specific purposes.

Cattle ownership is decided one critter at a time. No law requires a critter to be branded; but, if they are the owner of the brand is assumed to own the animal unless the person who has possession has a bill of sale from the brand owner. The search for the true owner can get complex if the animal has been bought and sold several times and has several brands.

The function of inspecting cattle for ownership (in South Dakota) has shifted to the management of the Brand Board in Pierre.

In state government the last two fiscal years – 2007 through 2009 – the budget of the Brand Board has jumped 103 percent. The staff has increased from four to 40, the investment council income the Board receives has been cut in half to $20,000 a year, the number of livestock recovered has reduced by 20 percent and the investigations and arrests for violating the law have been reduced.

One significant fiscal change to come about by changing from a contractor is a percentage of the inspection fees off the top is assessed to help pay state government administrative costs. The independent contractor did not pay these fees to the state.

The Brand Board is in a transition from a private nonprofit contractor doing the inspection work to a new era where the inspection works is a new function for the Board in Pierre.

Larry Stearns is the staff director for the Board and Wray Shouldis is the Chief Brand Inspector. Their toll free phone number is (877) 574-0054.

The major change the Brand Board has implemented is changing the work load of inspectors and increasing the wage scale and health and retirement benefits to those comparable to a state employee. However, these increases are paid for by fees, not state general tax funds, because the Board is not part of state government. It is a project run for cattlemen, paid for by cattlemen and controlled by Governor’s appointees. The law stipulates that members of the Board terms are staggered and one member’s term expires each year.

Brand Board members were all appointed by Governor Rounds in one round when he dismissed four of the five members. Governor Janklow refused to appoint anyone to the Brand Board (and many other Boards and Commissions) during his terms as governor. A Brand Board member when appointed is expected to serve until replaced, so members held over and served until dismissed by Governor Rounds. The board appointed by Rounds was adamant the nonprofit organization that had a contract to do inspection services should be replaced because the work could be managed better for no more cost. They did not contract for inspection services for the year 2008 and took over management of the inspection program.

The advantage of this change is owners of brands can seek a statewide program that will improve protection of livestock. The nonprofit organization did not have the political stature to get the legislature to approve statewide inspection – and a governor does.

The state law on ownership inspection over a 50-year period was fine tuned to meet the needs of fenced range country. The Brand Board with an office in Pierre took care of the statewide recording of brands and publishing a brand book and annual supplements and employed law enforcement personnel to investigate violations of the law. There are now over 25,000 brands registered that pay the following fees:

– Brand Registration – $25 plus $10 for each year remaining in current brand renew period.

– Brand Transfer – $25

– Brand Renewal – $50 and occurs every five years, which are years ending in “0” or “5” such as 2005, 2010…

When a nonprofit organization contracted to do ownership inspection committees of cattlemen met quarterly at their own expense to supervise, improve and monitor the program, they felt they needed to constantly upgrade the program to accommodate marketing trends and the needs of livestock owners. Many personnel working in the program as inspectors were paid on the basis of the number of head they looked at in their neighborhood and did not draw a salary. These inspectors are being replaced by personnel that will be paid a salary. The contractor conducted a transparent program and issued monthly reports showing the financial cost of the service including the cost per head each month.

Inspectors sort out co-mingling livestock and make sure the brand owner received the check for his brand on the critter. The contractor turned over to the state Brand Board the money on animals sold whose ownership could not be established at the time of sale.

The Brand Board is working with the legislature to keep the state law current.

During the 2009 legislative session the Board is proposing five separate pices of legislation calling for changes. The proposed laws deal with: bills of sale, out of state brands, shippers permit, voluntary horse inspection ad rewards.

Cattlemen statewide do not believe ownership identification should be discontinued and many have ideas to improve the program. Cattlemen strongly believe auction markets East River should have a system of ownership verification to protect them against theft and fraud. Counties east of the Missouri River in South Dakota do not have ownership inspection when selling to new owners. Livestock losses are sometimes covered by insurance.

Cattlemen are being asked by delegates from statewide organizations working in a committee co-Chaired by Lyndell Peterson, Hermosa, phone 342-5595, and Dan Lindblom, Rapid City, phone 343-0580, how they want the inspection program improved and what they expect for the 80 cent a head inspection fees.

Cattlemen believe the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) should fund and be an important part of all investigations dealing with livestock theft, fraud and violating the brand laws.

West River cattlemen have and use the brand for ownership purposes. Many East River cattlemen have a brand but are denied the benefit of a brand inspection program for ownership verification. Cattlemen do not believe lenders can be secure in their mortgages on livestock without ownership identification and third party verification when selling.

Inside the ownership inspection area, an average is about two percent of livestock sold are “held” for proof of ownership. A “hold” is created when a critter is sold on which the inspector has a question of ownership of the person who brought the critter to market based on the brand or in some cases no brand.

If the seller cannot be spoken to about the finding of the inspector, the critter is sold, and the proceeds are held and when the owner is established, the owner is paid. If the owner cannot be determined at the market in a period of time, the money is transferred to the Brand Board office in Pierre and is placed in a fund from which the owner can make a claim. If no owner makes a claim the money can be spent by the Brand Board for specific purposes.

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