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North Dakota

Grace period gives brand owners more time



Renew brands to avoid marketing problems with cattle.

North Dakota ranchers have another year to renew their livestock brands.

Brands that were not renewed by the end of 2020 were considered expired, but state law provides a one-year grace period, which prevents an expired brand from being picked up by a new owner in that 12-month period. The grace period, which ends Dec. 31, will protect brand owners from losing their brands by mistake.

According to the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association website, brands must be renewed every five years as required by law. Currently, more than 24,000 brands are registered in in the state. The NDSA administers the brand recording program on behalf of the state. It is a 91-year-old beef cattle trade organization with the mission to unite, protect, promote, educate and serve the state’s beef industry.

Brand owners who want to keep their brands, but who still need to renew them, should complete the green brand renewal form that was mailed in August (and again in November) to the address listed on the brand record.

Laws for marketing

NDSA Brand Recorder Steph Hille reminds brand owners to complete the renewal process as quickly as possible to avoid issues when marketing livestock.

“By law, brands that have not been renewed are expired,” Hille says. “Therefore, sale proceeds on an animal with an expired brand will be held until the brand is renewed or other proof of ownership is provided.”

Those who have opted not to renew their brand, but still have livestock wearing the brand, should contact a local brand inspector to have a local brand inspection done and to obtain the ownership paperwork they will need when marketing those animals.

Types of brands

In addition to hot branding, freeze brands are now considered legal proof of ownership on cattle in North Dakota, just as they already are on horses and mules.

To complete the brand renewal process, brand owners must fill out, sign and return their renewal form to the NDSA office at 407 S. Second St., Bismarck, ND 58504. Request a new form by calling 701-223-2522.

Ranchers may obtain a duplicate brand certificate by sending a request and $5 per certificate to the NDSA office.

The NDSA website offers ranchers a plethora of information to help them through the branding process, from downloading a brand application to tips on brand recording to actual tips on proper branding of your livestock. Ranchers can also locate a brand inspector in their area through the website.