Skip Navigation Links Home >> Brands Enforcement >> Livestock Brand Information


Applying for a brand
When applying for a livestock brand, MDOL suggests applying for brands that are side by side containing two letters and/or numbers, with bars, quarter circles or slashes.
Brands that cannot be issued include: Single letters/figures; monograms; one character/symbol; inverted letter/number brand; and brands containing the letters "I,” “G,” “Q," the number “1,” or standing quarter circles. Additionally, there are no “CC” or “JJ” combinations available for prime positions.
If you have no preference for a brand, please send a list of ideas, preferred locations, and counties where your livestock will range.
When recording a brand to a company, corporation, partnership, etc., please furnish a list of all officers and people authorized to sign bills of sale when selling livestock. If there is more than one owner, the word "and" means all owners must sign bills of sale, whereas "or" means any one person may sign. Do not use "and/or." If a brand is to be held in joint ownership, you must check the joint ownership box.
The fee for recording a brand is $200, half of which ($100) is non-refundable; payment is required when submitting your application.

Printable brand applications can be downloaded below.

Please note that it is not possible to issue or check the availability of brands on the phone.
Ornamental Brands
Ornamental brands are for decorative purposes only; any application of ornamental brands to livestock is strictly prohibited. Ornamental brands otherwise work just like real brands – you must apply for the brand you want. If the brand you request is already recorded, it cannot be issued. When applying for an ornamental brand, you may submit several choices to have a better chance of selecting a brand that is available. A fee of $200 is required with the application. 

Be sure to read and complete the ornamental brand application form in its entirety (i.e., name, mailing address, signature to be notarized). 
Ornamental Brand Application Form 
Changes to Brand Owner Name
A legal name change, such as a name change due to marriage or divorce, may be completed with a Name Change Affidavit. This affidavit may be submitted with your brand rerecord; otherwise the fee is $10.
A brand transfer constitutes the following scenarios and requires the completion of the Assignment of Brand Form, which can be found on the back of your original brand certificate:
  • Transfer;
  • Adding a name(s);
  • Removing a name(s);
  • Changes to business/ranch name;
  • Changing the word between names from “and” to “or,” or vice versa.
All parties listed as recorded owners on the brand must sign the Assignment of Brand form in order for any change to occur on the brand owner name (except legal name changes done with a name change affidavit).
Power of Attorney: If a brand owner is unable to sign for medical or other reasons, a person with power of attorney for that brand owner may sign on their behalf. A copy of power of attorney papers must be submitted with the Assignment of Brand form.
Deceased Owner(s): If a brand owner is deceased, see information below or call 406/444-2045.

Owner Name Change For Brands With Deceased Owner(s)
A Brand Owner name change involving a deceased owner requires very specific paperwork. Please call our office with any questions at 406/444-2045.
The brand is listed in more than one name and is listed in joint ownership: Submit a completed Assignment of Brand form with signatures of all living brand owners and a certified death certificate for the deceased brand owner. Joint Ownership Affidavit
The estate for the deceased owner was probated: Submit a completed Assignment of Brand form with signatures of all living brand owners and the signature of the Personal Representative of the deceased brand owner. A copy of the certified personal representative papers must be submitted in addition to the Assignment of Brand form.
There was no probate or for the deceased brand owner's estate: Submit a completed Assignment of Brand form with signatures of all living brand owners and all living heirs (spouse or children) of the deceased brand owner. The heirs must each sign an Affidavit of Survivorship and the Assignment of Brand form.

Important Information Regarding Brand Ownership
  • Two or more individuals owning a brand
    • Owners of a brand are considered Owners in Common unless specified otherwise by the owners, regardless of whether “and” or “or” appears between the owner names
      • There are no rights of survivorship to remaining brand owners in the event of a death of one or more owner
    • Joint Ownership With Rights of Survivorship
      • A brand may be listed in Joint Ownership at the owners’ request
      • In the event of the death of a brand owner, the other owner(s) have rights of survivorship, meaning the decedent’s name may be removed from the brand with a copy of the death certificate and a completed Assignment of Brand form signed by the remaining owners.
    • Notation between owner names does not pertain to ownership of the brand
      • If “AND” is listed between owner names, both owners must sign all bills of sale for branded livestock
      • If “OR” is listed between owner names, any owner may sign bills of sale for branded livestock on behalf of all owners
      • Regardless of which word is used, all owners must sign for any change in owner name to occur
  • Registering a brand under a business or ranch name
    • The name must be registered with Secretary of State
      • Secretary of State’s records determine who must sign in the event of a transfer
The notation between brand owner names has no influence over status of ownership; if the name is on the brand certificate, it denotes an owner. Ownership with more than one party defaults to owners in common. If one or more owner specifies intent, the brand may be listed in joint ownership. If an owner is deceased, the remaining owner(s) may sign a sworn affidavit of joint ownership to indicate that the brand was intended to be listed as such. This affidavit could be contested by heirs of the deceased owner.
Succession of heirs is spouse, then children