For Immediate Release
June 11, 2013
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Livestock
Fees for Brand Inspections, New Brands & Transfer to Increase July 1
Inspection Fee Comparison
Fees for brand inspections, new brand applications and brand transfers will be increasing July 1 in a move that was "made out of necessity," said Christian Mackay, executive officer for the Montana Board of Livestock.
Brand inspections will increase from 50 to 75 cents a head, and fees for new brand applications and brand transfers from $100 to $200.
Despite the increase, Montana's fees for brand inspection compare favorably to those of other states (see the chart on the department's web site at liv.mt.gov). Montana's fees for new brands and brand transfers are also lower than most other states, but are more difficult to compare because of different rerecord cycles and additional fees.
"It was a tough decision for the board, but they had to do something to maintain the level of service the industry requires and expects," Mackay said.
Prior to the recently completed legislative session, the Department of Livestock submitted, as required, a balanced budget proposal to the state legislature; balancing that budget, however, required the elimination of eight positions from the department's Brands Enforcement Division.
"No one - the industry, legislators, board members - wanted us to cut positions from Brands Enforcement, and the legislature rejected that budget proposal," he said.
In light of the legislature's actions, Mackay said, raising fees is "the only option" for an agency that's primarily funded through user fees.
The increase in inspection fees, last raised in 2003, will generate approximate $800,000 a year (based on 2012 cattle inspection numbers); roughly half will be used to cover personnel costs in Brands Enforcement, while half will go to local inspectors who conduct the bulk of the state's brand inspections.
Additional revenues generated by the increase in new brand applications and brand transfers, last raised in 2001, will be used for general Brands Enforcement Division operations. The department by law can only use 10% of those funds in any given year.