Brand inspection report shows slight decrease from last year’s data
Casper – During an April 7 meeting of the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB), Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa reported, “Though early in the year we were running ahead of the prior year for inspections, overall we were down a bit from 2013.”
Data showed that total brand inspection forms from 2013 to 2014 dropped by 1.07 percent, with the largest decrease seen in cattle.
Total livestock inspected in 2014 hit 1,409,217.
“Overall, total livestock inspections were down 5.25 percent,” Romsa said. “Cattle were down 7.07 percent. We inspected 1,082,876 cattle in 2014.”
Horses also saw a decrease of 4.80 percent from 2013 to 21,460. However, inspections of sheep increased by 3.71 percent to 300,557 sheep.
“This year, our inspections depend on this month and next month and the moisture that we get,” he said.
Romsa commented, “Our moisture over the next couple of months will determine what our year will look like. There is pretty severe drought in other states surrounding Wyoming.”
If droughts continue, Romsa mentioned that producers will be seeking available pasture where they can find it.
“Pasture rents are high right now,” he said. “If people have grass, we will probably have out of state cattle come in to Wyoming. If not, we might see a sell off.”
Romsa also noted that a general retention of heifers has been seen in the state, but if severe drought hits, it is possible that heifers will be sold to compensate.
At the markets
“Market inspections were down roughly 75,000 head from the year before,” Romsa said, noting that the number is a decrease of 19.87 percent from 2013. “This is a trend we have seen for many years.”
Romsa explained that, going back to 2000, over 900,000 animal were inspected at livestock markets around the state of Wyoming, but in 2014, only 276,842 livestock were inspected.
“Since 2000, we have lost a couple of markets,” he said as a reason for the decrease. “People are also marketing their cattle differently through video sales and whatnot.”
Romsa also reported that brand renewal finished on March 1, and of the approximately 5,700 brands up for renewal, 77.2 percent were renewed. The remaining 22.8 percent were listed as delinquent.
Romsa also noted that this year, the WLSB sent out certified notices that brands needed to be renewed.
Under delinquent status, producers are still able to renew their brand for an additional fee above the renewal fee.
“Most years, we have about 80 percent of our brands renewed,” Romsa said, adding that in the last 30 days, nearly 60 delinquent brands were renewed. “Brands will not be listed as abandoned until next year.”
On average, the WLSB maintains between 28,000 and 30,000 brands that are registered. Brands are abandoned for a variety of reasons.
“People may abandon a brand when they retire, or the brands may be dropped after a death. Other brands are dropped when people move or other things,” Romsa said. “Overall, we have a fairly constant number of brands in Wyoming.”
Romsa also noted that the Brand Division of the WLSB is almost fully staffed, with only one position in Torrington still open.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.