Alliance, NE — On January 7, 2011, Legislative Bill (LB)181 was introduced into Nebraska’s One Hundred Second Legislative Session of the Unicameral, relating to the Livestock Brand Act, to establish a surcharge.
LB 181 would give the Nebraska Brand Committee (NBC) the authority to assess a surcharge that would not be more than twenty dollars to cover expenses incurred by the brand inspector per inspection location when performing brand inspections as required by Nebraska’s Livestock Brand Act. The legislative bill requires the brand inspector to collect the surcharge from the person requesting the inspection or the person required by law to have the brand inspection performed.
Brand inspectors employed by the Nebraska Brand Committee travel just under one million miles a year to perform brand inspections as required by the Brand Act. As such, they are required to utilize their privately owned vehicles and are reimbursed their travel expenses as established by the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services. The current per mile rate is set at 55.5 cents per mile equating into a potential cost for the Committee of $528,000 for Fiscal Year 2011-12. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the retail price for regular gasoline is expected to average $3.38 per gallon in 2012 and $3.55 per gallon in 2013. Such a forecast would give little expectation that the per mile reimbursement rate will be lowered at any time during the Fiscal Year 2012-13.
LB 181 was signed by the Governor on May 11, 2011 and became law in September of 2011.
The Nebraska Brand Committee began the process of establishing Agency Rules and Regulations for the implementation of the surcharge on August 26, 2011 by conducting a public Rule-making hearing on the 6th day of October, 2011 in North Platte, NE.
An important definition within the NBC’s Surcharge Rules and Regulations was what is considered a “Local Country Inspection” and it shall mean those brand inspections that are performed in the country authorizing the movement of livestock, the slaughter of livestock, or the change of ownership of livestock at ranches, farms, and/or feedlots, including those inspections involving farm auctions and purebred/registered cattle sales.
The requirements, as outlined in the proposed rule state, “A surcharge of $10.00 per stop shall be assessed on all local country inspections except when there is no travel costs incurred by the brand inspector. The surcharge shall be collected by the brand inspector and paid by the person requesting the inspection or the person required by law to have the inspection.” The members of the Nebraska Brand Committee approved this rule and regulation and forwarded it on for review by Nebraska’s Attorney General Jon Bruning, who approved said rule on December 1, 2011. The surcharge rule and regulation was approved by Governor Dave Heineman and was filed with Nebraska’s Secretary of State John Gale’s office on December 16, 2011.
The members of the Nebraska Brand Committee moved at their meeting held January 19, 2012 to hold off the immediate implementation of the surcharge and will review the matter again at their March 2012 meeting, which will be scheduled at a later date.
The Nebraska Brand Committee has in the past and continues to encourage their inspectors to limit their miles traveled as the circumstances will allow, but a priority is to continue to provide the outstanding service as they have in the past. As the Committee begins the implementation of this surcharge, they encourage cattle producers to work with their local brand inspectors to assist in keeping the travel expenses as low as possible. Try to schedule inspections consistent with other inspections in their area and possibly make arrangements to bring the cattle to the inspector so as not to incur any travel costs.