Branding Iron


Blaine Northrop
Chief Brand Inspector
I’m not sure if I should introduce myself or not, because, in many ways, I am an old-timer around here, but here goes anyway. My name is Blaine Northrop, the newly appointed chief brand inspector for the NDSA.
Many of you probably remember back when I was a brand inspector and the west river fieldman — about 17 years worth of my life. In 2008, I left North Dakota for the high desert of Nevada and, for more than nine years, I worked as the chief brand inspector for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
It was quite a trip. Nevada still has a lot of the traits of the Old West — big ranches, wide mountain valleys, sagebrush and dust. Lots of dust. Not to mention the mud rains. Anything that has to do with cattle is done on horseback, either by the Hispanic cowboys or with buckaroos. They are good hands, all of them.
It’s big yearling country in the summer months. There is one producer that ran as many as 9,000 yearlings up in the northern tier. I’ve seen some of those yearlings travel close to 40 miles from spring turnout until fall roundup. The cow-calf operations are huge too — anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 head. I learned a lot in my years there — from the wild horse gathers to working the National Finals Rodeo and the Binion Bucking Horse Sale to the days at the Bundy/Bureau of Land Management fight and chasing bad guys and stolen livestock in California, Arizona, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Down the road, I’ll be writing about some of the things that happened. There was never a dull moment.
It’s great to be back in North Dakota. My first summer back, I thought I had brought Nevada with me. It was quite the drought. I’d forgotten what green grass looks like until the rains started this spring. It’s nice to see the grass in the pastures and all the hay being put up.
I’m still trying to get over the shock of the oil patch areas. While I was gone, towns turned into cities and apartment buildings the size I’ve never seen before and paved roads where there were none in the past popped up out of nowhere.
I’m looking forward to serving the livestock industry in North Dakota as your chief. I would also like to take this time to thank the NDSA Executive Committee and Board of Directors for giving me this opportunity to be a part of the NDSA team.
North Dakota Stockmen's Association * 407 S. 2nd St. * Bismarck, ND 58504 * 701-223-2522 *