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Why should I brand my livestock?

Your brand is your proof of ownership and the best way to identify your livestock.

How are brand records used?

  • Law enforcement criminal investigations use brands on a local, state, and federal level;
  • Texas Animal Health Commission and USDA-APHIS trace back for animal disease;
  • Agricultural lending institutions use brands to secure livestock loans;
  • County sheriff offices determine ownership of estray livestock;
  • Judges and attorneys reference brands in many types of civil litigations involving livestock; and
  • County clerks often receive a subpoena to testify in court as to the accuracy of their brand registration procedure.

Where do I need to register my brand?

  • The County Clerk’s office in the county or counties you are running livestock.  You must apply in person.

How do I register my brand?

  • Brands are registered in Texas by the county clerk of the county in which you run livestock. The brand must be registered by the county clerk for the brand to be considered a legal means of ownership.
  • In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association is responsible for brand registration.

How long is my brand registration good?

  • Texas brand registration is good for a 10-year period. The new period starts on Aug. 31, 2021 and goes through Feb. 28, 2022. At that time, all brands must be re-registered.

Do I have to re-register my brand?

  • Yes. In Texas, brands have to be re-registered every 10 years.
  • Brand re-registration always begins in the year ending with a 1. For example, the next brand re-registration period begins Aug. 31, 2021 and closes Feb. 28, 2022.
  • If you do not re-register within that period, then your brand is up for grabs by someone else.
  • Brands must be re-registered within that period regardless of the date it was originally registered – Section 144.04 Texas Agriculture Code

If I register a brand on Aug. 1, 2021, will I have to re-register my brand after Aug. 31, 2021?

  • Yes, all brands must be re-registered regardless of original registration date.

Does my brand registration automatically renew?

  • No.

If a brand is not re-registered by the current owner within the 6-month grace period (Aug. 31, 2021 to Feb. 28, 2022), can I register it?

  • Yes, after 6 months the brand is available to anyone.

How much does it cost to register or re-register my brand?

  • Cost may vary by county. The Kaufman County Clerks recording fee is $26.00 per Brand plus $5.00 for each additional location.

How can I find an old brand my ancestors used?

How can I find out if the brand design I want to register is already being used?

Can I register more than one brand?

  • Yes, it is lawful for any owner to have, own and use more than one brand and/or mark.

Can I register more than one brand on a form?

  • No. Use one form for each brand you wish to register.

Is brand location important?

  • The brand location is as important as the brand itself. The same brand may be registered in the same county as long as the location on the animal is different.

If I register my brand design on the left hip, can someone else register the same brand design in another location in the same county?

  • Yes, the same brand design can be registered in the same county by different individuals as long as the location of the brand is different.

Can someone else have the same brand design registered that I do?

  • Yes, in other counties. Your brand registration is good only in the county or counties where you register it.

Do I need to register earmarks, electronic devices or tattoos?

  • Yes.

Can I transfer a brand to another family member?

  • Brands may be transferred. This requires a notarized affidavit signed by the current brand holder that relinquishes title of the brand to the transferee. Brand transfers must be sent to TSCRA.

What if the owner passes away and the heir wants to register the brand?

  • The heir must provide proof of will or family agreement along with death certificate.

Can a minor have a registered brand?

  • Yes. A parent or legal guardian can sign for the child. The proper use of a brand is the parent/guardian’s responsibility.

I bought a horse with a brand. How do I locate where the horse came from?

  • If the horse came from Texas, you will need to know in which county the owner registered the brand. The county clerk’s office has the current and the archived brand registration files. There is no statewide registry in Texas.

Who do I contact if I find an animal that does not belong to me?

  • According to Chapter 142 of the Texas Agriculture Code, “…report the presence of the estray to the sheriff of the county in which the estray is discovered.”

What should I do if I am bringing cattle in from another state to be grazed in Texas?

  • You should register your brand in the Texas county in which you will be grazing the cattle. Check with the Texas Animal Health Commission for permits needed to enter the state.

Is there a penalty for using a brand that is not registered?

  • Yes, this is considered a misdemeanor.

Can I brand my livestock without registering the brand?

  • No, it is illegal to brand an animal unless the brand has first been properly registered.

Where can I find the Texas law regarding livestock brands?

Section 144.041 of the Texas Agriculture Code address recording of marks and brands:

    • § 144.041. MARKS AND BRANDS TO BE RECORDED. (a) Each person who owns
      cattle, hogs, sheep, or goats shall record that person’s earmarks, brands, tattoos,
      and electronic devices with the county clerk of the county in which the animals
      are located.
    • (b) A person who owns a horse shall record an identification mark authorized by
      Section 144.001(b) with the county clerk of the county in which the animal is
    • (c) The county clerk shall keep a record of the marks and brands of each person
      who applies to the clerk for that purpose.
    • (d) A person may record that person’s marks and brands in as many counties as
    • (e) A person may record any mark or brand that the person desires to use if no
      other person has recorded the mark or brand, without regard to whether that
      person has previously recorded a mark or brand.
    • (f) Not later than the 30th day after the date a county clerk receives a record
      relating to cattle or horses under this section, the clerk shall forward a copy of the
      record to the association authorized to inspect livestock under 7 U.S.C. Section
      217a (Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association).

Why is TSCRA involved in this?

  • TSCRA traces its beginning to 1877, when a group of ranchers formed an association to combat livestock theft. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on more than 51 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services
    and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.
  • The 29 commissioned peace officers who serve as the TSCRA special rangers investigate approximately 1,000 agricultural crime cases each year and recover an average of $5 million in stolen cattle and assets for ranchers each year.
  • TSCRA special rangers are commissioned through the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Those special rangers stationed along the Texas/Oklahoma border are dually commissioned to investigate agricultural crime in both states.
  • TSCRA special rangers are stationed in districts in Texas and Oklahoma where they:
    • investigate thefts of cattle, horses, saddles, trailers, equipment, and even poaching
    • pursue white-collar criminals who commit agricultural fraud
    • inspect livestock to determine ownership and prevent theft after a natural disaster such as wildfire, flood or hurricane
    • determine the ownership of estray, or stray, livestock
    • educate landowners on how to prevent theft and spoil the plans of thieves
    • keep the peace

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Law Enforcement • 1301 West Seventh Street, Suite 201 • Fort Worth, Texas 76102 • 1-800-242-7820

© 2011 by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association