The South Dakota Brand Board, in its Dec. 5 meeting, faced its financial report. From July to the meeting, the revenues and expenses end with a loss for each month. For the fiscal year, that loss is $123,357.
“There has been a non-movement of livestock in the whole area,” board member Myron Williams said.
In November, a little over 320,000 head of livestock were inspected, while in November of last fiscal year, almost 409,000 head were inspected. The total for July through November of 2018 is a little over 632,000, while the previous year’s July-through-November total was very close to 800,000. This November there were 242,437 livestock market inspections, 238 locker inspections, 77,305 local inspections, and 32 horse lifetime permits totaling to 320,012 inspections. Last November there were 299,818 livestock market inspections, 365 locker inspections, 108,732 local inspections, and 47 horse lifetime permits totaling to 408,962 inspections.
South Dakota and North Dakota brand fees are comparable. S.D.’s other neighboring states, though, charge far more for brand fees. A Colorado new brand fee is $200, compared to S.D.’s $25. Colorado charges $60 per year for renewal, compared to S.D.’s $10.
Brett Spencer, central zone supervisor of the Department of Criminal Investigation, reported that some livestock theft - rustling - cases are actually going to trial rather than being dropped, settled out of court or plead down. One such case is in Charles Mix County and another such case is in Huron. Spencer added that livestock destruction cases, rather than theft, are handled by local sheriff’s departments.
“I think that we are going in the right direction,” Spencer said. “I am still a firm believer that all of South Dakota should be a brand area.”
The S.D. Brand Board is working with a new software program that should make work easier. The program does not interrelate with Wyoming’s software, so intrastate sharing of information is problematic for now.
There are ongoing holds. These are where the owner of a head of livestock is brought to question by Brand Board inspectors. The amount of what that head is sold for at auction is put into a fund until if and when the true owner of the head can be determined. If no owner comes forward to prove ownership, the board votes to escheat that amount from “Amount Held for Others” to “Unrestricted in the Theft and Prevention Fund.”
Brand Board members include President Wanda Blair, Bob Haivala, Scott Vance, Bart Blum, Lyla Hutchison and Myron Williams. The staff is headed by Director Debbie Trapp.