SD Stockgrowers done with Brand Inspection Contract
As of June 30, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA) will no longer oversee the brand inspection program for the state of South Dakota. The SD Brand Board chose not to renew the contract with the Stockgrowers and took over brand inspection duties as of July 1, says SDSGA Vice President Kenny Fox of Belvidere, SD.
“The Brand Board has not contacted us to tell us who they have hired as inspectors,” said Fox. “Livestock owners should contact the Brand Board in order to line up a brand inspector or call the Governor’s office for any questions or concerns they might have.” Fox said the phone number to the Brand Board office is 605-773-3324 and the phone number to the Governor’s office is 605-773-3212.
SDSGA President Larry Nelson said the Stockgrowers are grateful to Jim Reed who has dedicated 16 years to the cattle industry as South Dakota’s Chief Brand Inspector, and spent many more years as a full time brand inspector in various towns. They also appreciate Brand Inspection Administrative Assistant Cathy Banning who has spent 18 years overseeing the office.
“I don’t know of a more conscientious and diligent pair than those two,” said Nelson. “They work like a well-oiled machine… recording and filing brand inspection data, managing brand inspectors across the state and finding rightful owners for livestock holds. I credit those two individuals greatly for the success this brand inspection program has enjoyed these past 16 plus years. They are the type of people that often go unnoticed because they do their jobs so efficiently and quietly. They will leave some large shoes to fill.”
Additionally, Nelson said the Stockgrowers appreciate all of the other brand inspectors who have served the industry.
“This program would not have been successful without the full time inspectors or the many, many local and part time inspectors and shippers’ agents,” Nelson said. “Many of these folks were basically donating their time and resources in an effort to make sure that the brand inspection program worked.”
Former Brand Board member Lyndell Peterson of Hermosa, SD is another individual who deserves recognition, says Nelson. “Lyndell recently resigned from the Brand Board because he didn’t agree with their takeover of the inspection program,” says Nelson. “But he has spent the last three years or more trying to ensure that the Brand Board will carry out their legal responsibilities in a sensible manner. He has always been an ally to the cattle industry, but as a member of the Brand Board he went above and beyond in an effort to bring a common sense point of view to their meetings.”
Fox said that the other brand board members stated that they didn’t agree with the Stockgrowers’ politics, and didn’t like the fact that the Stockgrowers were spending their profit from the brand inspection program to further their political agenda.
“They might not have agreed with our stance on political issues, but that was a poor reason to not renew the contract,” says Fox. “We were entitled to use our profits in any way we chose. We earned that money honestly, carrying out a contract that both sides agreed to.”
Besides that, Fox said that the Stockgrowers are the largest cattle organization in the state, which indicates that their political positions are widely supported.
“We stand strong on important issues for independent producers – I don’t believe there are very many ranchers or farmers in South Dakota who disagree with our politics,” says Fox.
“Our political agenda will not change and the Stockgrowers will not slow down our efforts to better the cattle industry,” he added. “With our without the brand inspection contract, we will represent producers on local, state and national cattle industry issues just the same as always.”