Brand Owners Reminded to Update Addresses

DOL – Every 10 years, the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) rerecords brands. With more than 55,000 active brands in the Big Sky, it’s a big job. It’s also an important job, as brands are a return address for your livestock – brands help prevent loss and theft of livestock, assist with the movement of livestock through markets channels, and are used to identify livestock in animal health emergencies.

“Brands are a big part of the state’s history,” said MDOL Brands Division administrator John Grainger. “It’s something people take seriously, and there’s some colorful history about rustlers who tried to beat the system and found the business end of a rope. It’s a system that’s worked well for 150 years, and it still works well today.”

In short, brands are rerecorded to keep DOL’s brand system – generally regarded as one the best in the nation – current, and that helps keep your livestock safe. Rerecord also allows brand owners to retain ownership of their brands, which is also a pretty big deal: Brands are possessions, and often have a family and historic value that can’t be measured by the cost of registration or rerecord fees. Brands that are not rerecorded are vacated and made available to the public.

“Brands will always be a fundamental part of the department’s operations, and rerecord is a fundamental part of keeping the system maintained,” Grainger said.

So, what does rerecord mean for you, the brand owner? It’s simple.
The first step is making sure your mailing address is up-to-date so that renewal notices get sent to the correct address. If your address has changed within the past 10 years – and many have with the restructuring of rural 911 systems – it needs to be updated. Addresses can be updated on the web site; by calling the Rerecord Hotline at 406/444-4999 (or secondary rerecord lines at 406/444-3812, 406/444-2045 or 406/444-9431); or by using mail-in cards available at brand offices, markets and other locations.

MDOL will send out brand renewal notices in January 2011, with a due date of December 31, 2011. The fee for rerecording, or renewing, a brand is the same as it was in 2001, $100, and has only been increased once in the past 30 years. If you do not receive your brand renewal notice by February 2011, please contact MDOL’s Brands Recorder at 406/444-3812.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for brand owners to update up their address,” Grainger said. “We encourage people to use the online form, which is one of the web tools we’ve recently added to improve the delivery of services while improving our efficiency.”

Grainger reminded brand holders that there’s no way to get a head start on the process.

“Some people get antsy, but you can’t rerecord your brand until you receive a rerecord notice,” he said. “If you send us a check now, we’ll just have to send it back.”

For additional information regarding brands or brands rerecord, contact MDOL’s Brands Recorder (406/444-3812, 406/444-4999) or public information officer (406/444-9431).

For additional information on brands, please see…
Update your mailing address:;
New brands:;
Brand transfers:


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