Inspection Guidelines
   
How do I prove ownership on my cattle, horses and mules?
There are three ways you can prove ownership on your livestock. One way is to brand the animals with a legally recorded brand. Second is to obtain a bill of sale, often called a brand release, complete with the signatures of the seller and one witness. Third is to obtain an inspection certificate from a North Dakota Stockmen’s Association brand inspector.
 
What is brand inspection used for?
Brand inspection is used to identify and/or verify an animal’s owner through the examination of its marks and brands.

When is brand inspection required?
1. Before removing cattle, horses or mules from North Dakota.
2. Before cattle or horses are sold at a livestock auction or weighing association.

What is required to move cattle, horses and mules outside of North Dakota?
A brand inspection certificate, issued by an official North Dakota Stockmen’s Association brand inspector is required to move livestock outside the state. 

Are there any exceptions?
Yes. When livestock are shipped to an open market or a livestock auction market in an adjacent state where North Dakota Stockmen’s Association brand inspectors conduct routine inspection, a brand inspection is not required. Any shipment of cattle or horses to markets other than the following markets require a brand inspection before leaving the state.
 
Those markets are:
Aberdeen Livestock Sales, Aberdeen, SD
Britton Livestock, Britton, SD
Glendive Livestock, Glendive, MT
Herried Livestock, Herreid, SD
Hub City Livestock, Aberdeen, SD
Lemmon Livestock, Lemmon, SD
Mobridge Livestock, Mobridge, SD 
Sisseton Livestock, Sisseton, SD
Yellowstone Livestock Company, Sidney, MT

What is a Permanent Horse Permit?
Permanent horse permits allow horse owners to travel anywhere in the United States and Canada without having a new brand inspection conducted each time they leave the state. There is a one-time inspection and permit fee of $25 per horse. 
Permanent horse permit inspections can be conducted by the chief brand inspector, fieldmen or any market inspector. The permits are good for the life of the horse or as long as the person who was issued the permit is the horse's owner.
Permanent Horse Permit inspectors

Penalty for removal of livestock.
No person shall remove cattle, horses or mules from North Dakota unless such livestock have been inspected for marks or brands by an official brand inspector of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association. Such inspection shall accompany such livestock to destination. Penalty for first offense is a Class B misdemeanor. Second offense is a Class C Felony. Inspection papers must accompany livestock to their destination.

What does brand inspection cost?
Brand inspection fees are $1.50 per head. Brand inspectors are also entitled to charge for travel at the state mileage rate.

What do I do if I find an estray animal amongst my herd?
If you find an estray animal or one whose owners are unknown, contact the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association or local law enforcement officials. You may be eligible for feed or other charges incurred while caring for the animal, but only starting from the day the estray is reported.

How do I find an inspector?
The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association has on staff a chief brand inspector, two fieldmen, 19 full-time auction market inspectors and more than 180 local brand inspectors across the state. 
 
 
When can an inspection be done?
A brand inspection can be performed just about anytime that works for the livestock owner and the brand inspector. However, brand inspections must be performed in the daylight. Allow at least 24 hours advance notice for a brand inspector, especially during busy seasons, such as fall runs. 
North Dakota Stockmen's Association * 407 S. 2nd St. * Bismarck, ND 58504 * 701-223-2522 * ndsa@ndstockmen.org