Blaine Northrop, Chief Brand Inspector
It’s finally May . I had a person tell me the other day that January lasted 95 days this year . It sure felt like it . Along with May comes branding time for many . You probably wouldn’t believe the number of calves that were misbranded last year . I hope we don’t run into the branding wrecks that happened in 2018 .
In one instance, a guy’s calf cradle broke, so he borrowed the neighbors’ cradle . Not paying attention, he didn’t realize that the table turned the opposite direction as his, and he branded all his calves on the wrong side .
Another guy branded all his cattle on the side he has his brand registered, but in the wrong location . Another producer branded all his cattle with his brand upside down .
And then there are the normal excuses: “Well, I guess we might have gotten into the beer coolers a little too soon . ” Or, “I guess I forgot the location of my brand . ”
I still remember the time I inspected some calves in the fall and about one-third of them were branded wrong . I knew the producer well, so I asked him how the heck his cattle got branded wrong . He too blamed the messed-up branding on the beer cooler .
People don’t realize the headaches misbranding causes at shipping time . Sometimes, the brands that are applied wrong are recorded to other producers in the state . This causes the producer’s checks to be held at the markets or at the scales until proof of ownership is established .
We can usually work things through with our producers to get things straight, but, sometimes, that takes weeks . Our deputy inspectors and I put a lot of miles on last year inspecting calves that were misbranded at farms and ranches . I encourage all producers to brand their cattle and keep an eye on the branding crew until all the calves are finished . Have a safe branding season .