Cowboy Riding Herd

Brand Registration Information

Bureau of Livestock Identification

Recording a Brand

To record a livestock brand, please complete the enclosed application signed in ink by the applicant or applicants and return it to the Department of Food and Agriculture with the $70.00 recording fee.

Section 20662

Section 20662 of the Food and Agricultural code states the proposed brand design must meet the following requirements:

  • It is not in conflict with any other recorded brand in this State.
  • It is capable of producing a like design when applied to the hide of an animal.
  • It is capable of readily symbolizing the intended design to any person who views it.
  • It lends itself to common verbal description.

Please indicate on the application the choices of brand design, location on the animal in order of preference, and any earmarks desired. There are six branding positions for legal proof of ownership of cattle. They are the left or right shoulder, rib or hip.

To record the brand to a company, partnership, fictitious business etc., a copy of the legal document showing registration with the Secretary of State’s office or county office, which names all officers, partners or owners must be provided.

When the brand is approved for registration, a Certificate of Cattle Brand Registration is issued to the applicant along with a drawing that may be used in the construction of your branding iron. The brand may not be used until the certificate of registration has been issued.

The $70.00 recording fee entitles the applicant to use the brand until the following April 1. At that time, the brand owner shall pay the biennial renewal fee of $70.00 by April 30 of that year. Renewing the brand is the applicant’s responsibility.

If the renewal fee is not paid, the brand is placed in suspense and may not be used to brand livestock. If the brand owner wishes to reinstate the suspended brand, an additional penalty fee of $30.00 is required.

At the end of one year's suspension, the brand is then canceled. After cancellation, anyone may apply for the registration of the canceled brand. If the original owner(s) wish to re–record the brand, a new application and a $140.00 re–recording fee must be submitted.

Transferring a Brand

  • The purpose of the Transfer of Brand form is to change the ownership of a Livestock Brand. Brand ownership changes can consist of the addition or deletion of a name, or the change of brand ownership to or from a corporation, partnership, fictitious business or a trust.
  • Transfer of Brand forms are only available upon request from the Bureau of Livestock Identification office. When requesting a Transfer of Brand form, please notify the Brand Registration office if any changes in address have occurred.
  • A completed transfer form and a $70.00 transfer fee must be submitted when a change in brand ownership occurs.
  • The transfer form, signed by all current owner(s) and all new owner(s), must be submitted. If signed by a legally appointed representative such as an executor, power of attorney, trustee(s), partners or officer(s) of a corporation, a copy of the document indicating this authority must be provided.
  • All signatures must be notarized.
  • The new owners of the brand may not use the brand until the Brand Certificate citing the transfer has been received.
  • Transfer of Brand forms cannot be processed unless the renewal status of the brand is current.

Important Note:

Change of brand ownership does not constitute change in ownership of cattle bearing that brand. The change of ownership of cattle requires a Brand Inspection and Bill of Sale or Consignment (Yellow Slip) or written instrument from the owner or his/her agent with clear definition of number, kind, breed, sex and, if branded, brand and location on each animal. Please refer to California Food & Agriculture Codes 21051 and 21702.

Transfer forms are available upon request from the Bureau of Livestock Identification office. Please notify the Brand Registration office if any changes in address have occurred.

Bureau of Livestock Identification
Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 900-5006
Fax: (916) 900-5335

Renewing a Brand - Agricultural Code Sections

Section 20754. The owner of a brand shall, on or before April 30th after its recordation, pay to the bureau a biennial period renewal fee of Seventy Dollars ($70) for the right to continue to use the brand.

Section 20722. If the renewal fee is not paid by April 30th following the recordation of the brand, or by April 30th of the year that follows the last year for which the renewal fee has been paid, the right to use the brand is suspended as of April 1st of that year.

Section 20756. If the right to use a brand is suspended for failure to pay the renewal fee, it may be reinstated within one year from the date of suspension upon the payment of the biennial renewal fee of Seventy Dollars ($70) plus a Thirty Dollar ($30) penalty fee.

Section 20723. If the right to use a brand is suspended for more than one year, it becomes forfeited on April 1st following the year of suspension. The brand may, thereafter, be rerecorded by the former owner or it may be applied for by any other person pursuant to this chapter.

Section 20222. Any person who uses an unrecorded, forfeited, or canceled brand shall pay a penalty upon a first violation of one hundred dollars ($100); upon a second violation within the same 12–month period, a penalty of two hundred dollars ($200); and upon a third or subsequent violation within the same 12–month period, a penalty of five hundred dollars ($500), which is in addition to any other penalty provided by law.

Section 20757. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the fee for rerecording a forfeited or canceled brand shall be One Hundred Forty Dollars ($140). This amount shall accompany the application to rerecord. (b) When a penalty has been paid pursuant to Section 20222, within 30 days of the date the application to rerecord is received by the director, the fee to rerecord shall be Seventy Dollars ($70).

Brands: Bovine

“Brand” means a design that is permanently impressed on the hide of an animal by burning with acid, a chemical compound, or a hot iron. Freeze brands cannot be used on cattle to indicate ownership.

Brands: Horses, Mules, Burros, Sheep & Swine

Any person that owns a registered cattle brand may use the same brand on the same location on horses, mules, burros, sheep or swine.

A super cold iron (freeze brand) as defined in Section 23251.1 may be used on horses, mules, burros and sheep.

Contact Information

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services, Bureau of Livestock Identification
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: 916-900-5006
Fax: 916-900-5335
Or send an email to the bureau: