FAXON, Okla. (TNN) - Ranchers across the state have less than a month to voice their opinion on an increase in cost to register and renew their cattle brand. The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Board of Directors is considering bumping the price up to $40 beginning in 2020.
Oklahoma ranchers currently pay $20 every five years to register or renew their brands.
“Branding is a prima facie proof of ownership in a court of law,” said Michael Kelsey, the Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. “The second thing is, branding the cattle is a theft deterrent, it helps in ownership disputes and so forth.”
There are several reasons behind the hike. For starters, the cost of the database that holds more 14,000 brands and the printing and shipping the brand books that are sent to law enforcement across Oklahoma. However, the majority of those funds are used for staffing.
“It takes people to maitain the database, receive brand registrations and renewals, log those in and approve them," said Kelsey. "Once you own a brand in the state of Oklahoma, nobody else can own it.”
Jeremy Kinder is a rancher running a cow-calf and stocker operation near Faxon. He says the $20 increase is a small price to pay to make sure the integrity of his business is protected.
“To me it’s important," said Kinder. "It’s a very small amount of dollars we’re paying to get a lot of good out of it.”
The fee hasn’t been increased in more than 20 years. If passed, $40 is well within the comparison of surrounding states.
“Kansas is $50, New Mexico is $100 and Missouri is $35 on five year intervals," Kinder said. "Texas is an exception. It’s reported by the county, so the county clerk can increase the brand registration fee.”
Kinder says having the opportunity to voice their opinions to a board of directors is invaluable.
“Most producers are rural and a lot of times, we appreciate the member dollars that go to work for us," he said. "We don’t have to be at the capitol or at the table in these meetings. We have a board of directors and people we trust to do that for us.”
Ranchers have until August 22nd to submit comments on the increase at okcattlemen.org. The Board will reconvene and take a vote on August 24th.