About Brand Inspection


Brand Inspection

Permanent Horse Permit
  • Those traveling frequently with horses may also consider a permanent horse permit.

  • There is a one-time inspection and permit fee of $25 per horse for a permanent horse permit. Proof of ownership in the form of a bill of sale or market clearance is required.
  • Permanent horse permits are good for the life of the horse or as long as the person who was issued the permit is the horse's owner.


When is brand inspection required?
• Brand inspection is required for cattle, horses and mules before leaving North Dakota.
• Before being sold at a livestock auction.
Inspection papers must accompany livestock to their destination.
When can a brand inspection be performed?
• A brand inspection can be performed just about any time that works for the livestock owner and the brand inspector.
• However, brand inspections must be performed in the daylight.
• Allow at least 24 hours advance notice for a brand inspector, especially during busy seasons, such as fall runs.
When do I need to call a brand inspector?
• Before leaving North Dakota.
• When selling livestock private treaty.
• If you have missing cattle.
• If you have stray cattle on your property.
Hauling livestock across the border?
• A brand inspection certificate, issued by an official North Dakota Stockmen's Association brand inspector is required to move livetock outside the state.
Inspection papers must accompany livestock to their destination.
Are there any exceptions?
• When livestock are shipped to an open market or a livestock auction market in an adjacent state where North Dakota Stockmen’s Association brand inspectors conduct routine inspection, a brand inspection is not required.
Any shipment of cattle or horses to markets other than the following markets require a brand inspection before leaving the state.  Those markets are:
     Aberdeen Livestock Sales, Aberdeen, SD
     Glendive Livestock, Glendive, MT
     Herried Livestock, Herreid, SD
     Hub City Livestock, Aberdeen, SD
     Lemmon Livestock, Lemmon, SD
     Mobridge Livestock, Mobridge, SD 
     Sisseton Livestock, Sisseton, SD
     Sidney Livestock Market Center, Sidney, MT
• For horses, a permanent horse permit allows horse owners to travel anywhere in the U.S. and Canada without having a brand inspection conducted each time they leave the state.
A permanent horse permit has a fee of $25 and can be conducted by the chief brand inspector, fieldmen or a market inspector.  The permit is good for the life of the horse or when the horse is sold to another person.
If the horse is sold, the permanent horse permit shall be surrendered to a brand inspector upon transfer of ownership.
What is the penalty for moving livestock out of state without a brand inspection?
• The penalty for first offense is a Class B misdemeanor.
• The second offense is a Class A Felony.
What paperwork do I need when selling livestock?
• You need to provide the buyer proof of ownership such as a bill of sale.
• A market clearance - a document issued by a brand inspector where the animal(s) were initially purchased at an auction market.
I sold livestock at the market & my check was held.
• Provide ownership by providing a bill of sale or market clearance.
• If you didn't renew your brand, your check will be held and you will have to reapply for that brand.
I lost my brand papers!
• Call the NDSA office or go to the market where the livestock was purchased and request a duplicate.
Duplicate fee is $20.
What are the fees?
• Brand inspection is $1.50 per head.
What should I do if I have missing livestock?
• Check with your neighbors.
• Call the NDSA at 701-223-2522 to fill out a missing cattle report.
• Make sure to note any distinctive markings such as brands, earmarks or eartags.
What do I do if a stray animal is in my herd?
If you find a stray animal or one whose owners are unknown, contact the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association or local brand inspector for assistance.
• You may be eligible for feed or other charges incurred while caring for the animal, but only starting from the day the estray is reported.
What are the animal health requirements?

Brand Inspection links:

NDSA Brand Board Download Forms
Auction Market Info How to read brands
Weigh Stations Permanent Horse Permits
Estrays Missing Livestock
Truck Rollover Procedure Reward Information
For more information on North Dakota brand inspection laws, check

Theft prevention tips

* Lock your gates. Gates can be cut, but, if you discover a cut gate, you know something is wrong on your property.
* Brand cattle and horses. Without a brand, identification is difficult. Make sure the brand is recorded with the North Dakota Stockmen's Association.
* Check on cattle as often as possible. 
* Videotape horses and tack. Keep complete and accurate descriptions on file.
* Mark all saddles, tack and equipment with your name and phone number.
* If possible, build pens as far as possible from roadways.
* Be aware - look out for unknown vehicles, especially trucks with trailers.
* Report suspicious activity immediately.