Brand division prepares for busy year of inspections, continued computerization
As the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB)’s Brand Recording Division gears up for the 2015 brand renewal period, Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa notes, “2015 is one of our bigger years as far as brand renewal.”
He encourages producers to make sure to get their brand renewal information in prior to the March 1 deadline, or a fee must be paid to avoid having the brand listed as abandoned.
As with every renewal period, the WLSB is statutorily required to send out renewal notices to brand owners. The notice is delivered to the last known address of the brand owner.
“As every renewal goes, we have a lot of our renewal reminders returned in the mail,” Romsa says. “People have passed away, moved or are out of business.”
If brand owners move, he also encouraged them to contact the WLSB with a new address.
The 2015 brand renewal period ends March 1.
Looking back to 2014, Romsa notes that brand inspection numbers showed indications of rebuilding of Wyoming’s cattle herds.
“In 2012, we had a pretty good sell-off of cattle, so numbers were down in 2013,” he explains. “By December 2014, we were almost at the same numbers for brand inspection as 2013 totals. It looks like our cattle numbers are starting to kick up again.”
With cattle numbers returning, he also notes that brand inspectors are beginning to retire, and the WLSB is consistently seeking new, qualified individuals to serve as brand inspectors.
“It has been increasingly tough to get good quality candidates to apply for these jobs,” Romsa says. “Any producer who knows someone who might be good as a brand inspector, should contact the WLSB.”
In 2014, the division received funding from the Wyoming Legislature to increase the salary for brand inspectors, but Romsa notes that additional increases are needed to stay competitive with other industries in the state.
“We are getting some good candidates applying for these jobs,” he comments, “but in parts of the state where we have seen recent energy development, it is getting tough to compete.”
“Anything we can do to work with producers to get good quality people in these jobs would be greatly appreciated,” Romsa says.
With brand renewal in full swing, Romsa also notes that the WLSB continues to work on their computerization project.
“Since Sept. 1, the brand recording system is up and running live,” he explains. “We are doing brand renewal with the new system.”
He says that, while the system isn’t yet perfect, the WLSB is working out bugs as they come up.
“All of our renewals this year will go into our new system,” Romsa says.
WLSB Director Doug Miyamoto adds, “It seems like computerization should be an easy thing to accomplish, but as we have gone through our process, there is a lot of code writing that has to be done before we are fully computerized. It is going to take some time and patience to be able to get the new system working and working well.”
Because of the complicated nature of brands, Miyamoto also notes that he anticipates the process will be complex, but they will work to make sure it works well to accomplish the goals of the agency.
“I would estimate that we are one-third of the way done with the project,” he says, “and we are on pace with the expenditure of money, as well.”
Miyamoto also comments that getting the system into the hands of brand inspectors will present an additional hurdle.
“Everything is working so far, but it is going to be a task to get everything working the way we need it to,” he says.
Romsa presented during the 2014 Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup, held the first week of December 2014.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.