When most of us think about cattle brands, visions of cowboys out on the open range in western movies usually come to mind, but branding is the most important thing a rancher today can do to prevent cattle theft.
“A brand is something that we can see out in a pasture. We can see it in a trailer. We don’t have to have the probable cause that we would have to have to get into a pasture to look at a tattoo or read an electronic device.”
Hal Dumas is a special ranger for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
“We just recommend you put it high on the animal so that when it goes through a sale barn or something, if a criminal does happen to get it, that our market inspectors will be sure they see it up there high on the animal. If you put it down low on a shoulder or a thigh or something, a lot of cattle in a pen, it may not get seen.”
It’s recommended that at the very least brands be registered in any county a rancher operates in.
“Our computer system has every brand in the state of Texas that went through a sale barn, so anytime an animal goes through a sale barn, we have a record of that brand that goes into our data system, and I’m able to pull that up and see what sale barn it went through and who sold it.”
They also have a record of every registered brand in the state.
“So if I have an animal and it happens to be in a criminal’s pasture that we recovered with some they we know were stolen and don’t know where it came from, I’m able to pull that up and see who in the state of Texas has that brand registered.”
There are other benefits to branding your animals.
“If your animal gets mixed up with the neighbors cattle, well that’s a simple way to distinguish which one’s yours. A lot of people brand because that’s their trademark.”
Texas requires re-registration of brands every ten years. The re-registration window began August 31st and ends in February.
“You have to re-register your brand every ten years regardless of when you had it registered before and it started August 31st, so if you registered your brand August 29th, you have to re-register it right now to have that brand.”
I’m Shel Winkley, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.