Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

SD Brand Board to bring wish list to 2024 legislature

The cap last was increased to one dollar in 2008, the year that the Brand Board took over management of ownership inspections from the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. The board raised the actual fee to one dollar through a rule change in 2013.

PIERRE, S.D. — Livestock producers in western South Dakota could be paying more for mandatory inspections next year. The state Brand Board on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, settled on four items to pursue in the coming legislative session.

Board members agreed to seek a higher inspection fee. The fee now is $1 per head. They want authority to go as high as $2 but would set the actual amount after a public hearing.

The board’s executive director, Debbie Trapp, said inspections have been costing about $1.18 per head. In addition, according to Brand Board member Myron Williams, Wall, S.D., brand inspectors have seen increases in amounts they receive for mileage, pay and benefits.

SD Stockgrowers won’t support doubling inspection fee

Another change that will be sought is giving inspectors discretion to do their work with livestock that are in or on any form of conveyance, such as a trailer. Currently state law forbids it.

The board also wants authority to charge an additional $30 for inspections of 20 head or less. This would be in addition to the per-head fee. “We’d have to create a law that says we can do that,” explains the board’s chair, Scott Vance of Faith.

Finally, the board wants the Legislature to change all livestock-inspection violations to Class 2 misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Currently, they are Class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by up one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The 2024 legislative session begins January 9.

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Market manipulation was the focus of a panel discussion during the recent SDFU State Convention. U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General, Michael Kades was among the panelists that included (left to right) Scott Blubaugh, President of American Farmers & Ranchers; Scott Kolousek, Wessington Springs rancher and SDFU board member, Oren Lesmeister, S.D. State Legislator and SDFU board member and Kades.


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