All Texas cattle brands, marks expire after Aug. 30

Ranchers have 6-month grace period to renew; registrations good for 10 years

Staff report
Cattle grazing at the Texas A&M University O. D. Butler Jr. Animal Science Complex.

All Texas cattle brands, marks and tattoos are set to expire after Aug. 30 and must be renewed by Feb. 28, 2022.

“Brand owners have a six-month grace period in order to re-register their brands, and that’s beginning Aug. 31 through Feb. 28, 2022,” said Michelle Carlile, assistant director of Law Enforcement, Brand and Inspection Services for the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). “If they fail to re-register their brand during those six months, then their brand is open for anyone to take.”

All brands are registered through the county clerk’s office.

“They will need to go directly to the county clerk in the county where their livestock reside,” Carlile said. “So, if they have multiple ranches in different counties, then they would need to go to each county clerk’s office.”

Some offices are participating in an online re-registration program. Carlile recommends contacting the Ellis County clerk to see if the county is participating.

Brand applications and renewals require a drawing of the brand that notes the location on the animal.

“The location of the brand is just as important as the brand itself,” she said. “You and I can have the same brand in the same county as long as the location is different. So, I can brand on the left hip. You can brand on the right hip. So, the location is part of the brand itself.”

Carlile said the fee varies by county, but the average fee is $26 per brand. Some counties charge an additional $5 if the brand is on multiple locations.  Ellis County charges $26 per location of the brand.

Although Texas does not have a statewide brand registry database, TSCRA keeps a centralized database for the association’s law enforcement purposes.

“A brand is like a return address for the cattle. So, when the cattle are missing, we can find it quickly in our database and find out who that brand or who that cow belongs to,” Carlile said. “It also prevents theft. Our Special Rangers have spoken about when they’ve interviewed suspects and the suspects have actually told us that they will avoid cattle that have brands on them and go for the unbranded livestock. It’s a good deterrent for thieves not to take branded cattle.”

The registration is good for 10 years and will expire Aug. 30, 2031.

Any previously recorded brand, marks and tattoos that have not been re-registered by the Feb. 28 deadline will be considered unclaimed and eligible for registration by another.

In Texas, it’s not mandatory to brand livestock.

“However, if you do brand your livestock, it is mandatory that you register the brand with the county clerk,” Carlile said. “Failure to do so is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500.”

For more information, visit or call 1-800-242-7820 to speak with the TSCRA Brand and Inspection Department.

Ellis County specifics can be found at the following site.

For further information contact Mark Arnold, County Extension Agent, Ag/NR at or 972-825-5175.