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Livestock Inspection

Employees of the State Board of Stock Inspection are charged with protecting the Colorado livestock industry. Brand inspectors must certify that a livestock shipper or seller is the legal owner of the livestock prior to issuing a brand inspection certificate. All lost, missing, strayed and stolen livestock fall under the jurisdiction and control of the Brand Inspection Division.

The Brand Inspection Division employs 68 brand inspectors, supervisor inspectors and administrative personnel located throughout the state. The annual budget for the division exceeds four million and is completely funded by fees paid by livestock owners and brand assessment fees levied every five years.

Inspectors drive over one million miles each year and inspected over 4.5 million head of livestock.


When to Get An Inspection

When Is Inspection Required?
  • Brand inspection is mandatory on cattle, horses, mules & donkeys.
  • Inspections are generally arranged by the owner of the livestock to be sold or transported, and it is the inspector's job, among other things, to determine whether the purported owner is in lawful possession of the livestock.
Inspections are required:
  • Prior to transfer of ownership of the livestock (including when livestock are given away);
  • Prior to transportation of livestock over 75 miles within the state of Colorado (regardless of whether there is a change of ownership);
  • Prior to transportation from Colorado to a destination out of state (regardless of distance, and regardless of whether there is a change of ownership);
  • Prior to sale at a licensed Colorado livestock market;
  • Prior to slaughter when not accompanied by a current certificate of inspection or acceptable substitutes;
  • Upon entry into a Colorado feedlot from grazing or pasture lands;
  • Upon shipment from a Colorado feedlot to slaughter (unless the feedlot is licensed by the Brand Board as a certified feedlot);
  • When no brand or freshly branded beef calves are removed from their mothers and shipped without/separated from their mothers to Colorado licensed public livestock market or slaughter plant; and
  • When cattle owned by a non-resident of Colorado enter Colorado for commercial grazing purposes unaccompanied by a brand certificate or a sale barn purchase sheet describing the cattle.
Items to Remember For Livestock Inspections

The following items are a highlighted overview of the requirements to purchase, sell or transport livestock within Colorado or from the state. Also included are a few pointers when purchasing livestock in other states which will be transported into Colorado.

  • Be sure to give your Inspector at least 2-3 days notice prior to when inspection is needed.
  • Inspection is required for sale or movement even if the previous parties did not comply the last time the animal was sold or transported.
  • Inspection is required regardless of whether or not the animal is branded or not branded.
  • Inspection is required on all classes of stock (horses, cattle, mules or donkeys). Registration papers or the lack of registry does not exempt inspection.
  • Inspection is required at the point of origin unless released by the local inspector. SELLER OR LEGAL AGENT MUST BE PRESENT AT THE INSPECTION.

Fee Schedule

Regulations for Livestock Inspection





An inspection is required every time an animal is sold, purchased or given away (horses, cattle, mules and donkeys) or when any change of ownership occurs, regardless of whether or not the animal is transported after or prior to the sale. 




An inspection is required when livestock is to be transported over 75 miles within the boundaries of Colorado (some exceptions)




An inspection is required every time livestock leave the state regardless of circumstances.




Items 2 and 3 may be accomplished by the owner obtaining a “PERMANENT TRAVEL CARD” (for horses only). Simply contact your local inspector. 



Any time livestock is to be transported on a public road, proof of ownership of the stock being transported must be available for inspection by the Colorado State Patrol, local law enforcement or a livestock inspector. If the animal carries your Colorado brand, this can be your proof of ownership. Failure to show proof of title is a misdemeanor. 



Animals being transported by a commercial hauler must have a “Bill of Lading” showing point of origin, destination, number of head, color, sex, the hot iron brands and signed by the owner or agent of the stock even if an inspection be not required. 



Any livestock crossing a state line must be accompanied by a current health certificate. Contact your local veterinarian or the state veterinarian’s office for specific information. 



Brand Inspectors

Who are the brand inspectors?


  • They range in age from 20s to 70s.
  • They are statutory peace officers.
  • To be hired, they must be at least 18 years old, be a resident of Colorado and have a Colorado driver’s license. And, they must have:
    • Experience physically working with livestock in a variety of settings, such as sale barns, drives, round-ups, sorting, and penning, branding, clipping, roping, etc.
    • The ability to read livestock brands
    • Good basic math skills
    • Good oral and written communications skills
    • Basic computer and cell phone skills
    • Good interpersonal skills
  • They are members of the state personnel system. 
To Apply

You may complete a job interest card on the Colorado State Employment website. Click on the "job interest cards" tab, then select the "Agriculture" category and complete the job interest card at the bottom. By doing so you will ensure that you receive notice of openings in the Brand Inspection Division and the Colorado Department of Agriculture when they occur.

A job announcement posted will be for a specific district and position only. The person selected for that position will be required to live in the areas outlined in the announcement. 

For questions, please contact the Brand Office at (303) 869-9160.