Wyoming Livestock Board discusses brand renewals, mileage rates and G-Forms
Cheyenne – Brand renewals, mileage rates and G-Forms were among the topics Wyoming State Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa reported on during the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) meeting in Cheyenne on April 5.
“We just finished our brand renewal period, and renewed 4,221 brands out of 5,400 that were up for renewal. By statute, brands expire at the end of the year, and there is a 60-day grace period to renew. If they’re not renewed during that grace period, by law they’re considered abandoned,” explained Romsa.
“There is latitude to reissue abandoned brands in statute, and what we’ve done in the past is, if the brands are registered, people can pick them up exactly as they were issued, in terms of species and position,” continued Romsa.
He explained the reason for keeping brands species and location specific is because that requires significantly less research than what is involved in issuing a new brand.
Romsa asked for the board’s approval to reissue abandoned brands, if they’re not an exact duplicate of a previously renewed brand, and that reissued brands stay with the same species and position(s) as they were previously registered. The board passed his request unanimously.
Another topic Romsa brought before the board was the current brand inspector mileage rate.
“We are currently under contract with our brand inspectors at a rate of 50 cents a mile, and the IRS rate is at 51 cents, as is the state rate,” noted Romsa. “There is a provision in our contract that the rate may be renewed annually by the agency, and if increased the contractor shall be notified, in writing, and the new rate will be published on the agency’s webpage on or before July 1. I simply wanted to make the board aware, as this is a time sensitive issue, should the board want to change the mileage rate.”
WSLB President Eric Barlow noted that budget issues have resulted in the board being under-budgeted for mileage in the current biennium.
“There is value in considering this flexibility as we start our budgeting process for the next biennium. We could build some latitude into that budget that would allow us to go up and down,” noted Barlow.
Board member Pat Cullen commented that the wording of the statute only allowed for an increase in the mileage rate, and asked why there wasn’t language to allow for a downward trend in the contracted rate. Board member Donna Baldwin-Hunt asked what the estimated dollar amount a one-cent increase in mileage would add to the budget. The topic was placed on the board’s next agenda, and Romsa was asked to provide the fiscal impacts of a one-cent increase.
Romsa’s final topic before the board was a proposal for cattle to be shipped from Wyoming to the Crawford Livestock Market in Nebraska on a G-Form versus a full brand inspection. He also explained the Nebraska Brand Committee’s request to ship to Wyoming without a brand inspection.
“We do have a letter from the state of Nebraska, and one from Crawford Livestock Market. Nebraska submitted an official request to have a reciprocal agreement between the two states, and they have been interested in this for some time – especially in coming to the Torrington market without an inspection,” noted Romsa. “The interest in going to the Crawford market on a G-Form, as is done with the St. Onge and Belle Fourche markets in South Dakota, is mostly in Niobrara County.”
“Our statutes give the board authority to do cooperative agreements with other states if it’s economically feasible. My opinion is that there is no way you can say sending animals to Crawford on a G-Form is economically feasible to us. I have several personal concerns, especially regarding cattle coming into Wyoming from Nebraska without a brand inspection – especially since Nebraska is a split state,” said Romsa.
“In 2009 there were approximately 1,550 cattle that went from Wyoming, meaning Niobrara and Weston counties, to Crawford. In 2010, there were approximately 2,500. In return, in 2009 approximately 13,000 cattle came from Nebraska to Wyoming, and those cattle came from 661 producers,” stated Wyoming Brand Inspector District #2 Supervisor Joe Hunter. “In this agreement they can come to Torrington without any brand inspection, and can come to a local packing house without any papers whatsoever. I don’t care for that, and believe it would be a hardship on us.”
WLSB president Eric Barlow noted that the current G-Form cost of 75 cents will increase to 90 cents in the near future, which will result in a 60-cent difference between a full brand inspection and a G-Form.
“If there were 1,550 in 2009, and 2,500 in 2010, that would a difference of about $1,200 a year – I don’t know if that’s economically feasible or not” said Barlow.
“I think this would be the continuation of the mistake started with allowing a G-Form to go into the South Dakota markets,” stated board member Albert Sommers. “I move we deny both the Nebraska Brand Committee’s and Crawford Livestock Market’s request to utilize the G-Form for movement between the states.”
Board member Brent Larson seconded the motion, and the board passed it unanimously.