Nebraska Brand Committee

Brand With Pride ~ Protect Your Livestock

News Releases


The Nebraska Brand Committee has selected John Widdowson of Kearney, Nebraska as its new Executive Director.

Widdowson is a fifth-generation family farmer and rancher who has been actively involved in ranching most of his life.  Widdowson holds a degree in Animals Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has first hand knowledge of the needs of Nebraska's cattle producers.  Widdowson has served on the Governor's Ag Committee and has served on the five-member Nebraska Brand Committee since 2015, most recently serving as the Committee's Chair before his resignation from that position to become the Committee's full-time Executive Director.  While on the Committee Widdowson spearheaded efforts to modernize the Committee, including the Committee's move to electronic brand record, inspections and recordkeeping.

The vacancy was created by the resignation of former Executive Director Bill Bunce in August of 2017. Since then longtime Committee employee Dave Horton has been serving as the Interim Executive Director.  Horton will remain employed by the Committee as its Chief Investigator.

The Committee spent significant time over the past year identifying and selecting its next leader and developing a new Strategic Plan to guide the Committee and its staff in the years to come. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture assisted with the selection process, and the interviews of finalists by the Committee members occurred in early February.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts praised the decision: "Congratualtions to the Brand Committee on the hiring of John Widdowson as the their next executive director.  The brand play's an important role in Nebraska's ranching community, and John will do a great job of leading the committee into the future."

Current members of the Nebraska Brand Committee are Vice Chair Adam Sawyer, Bassett; Terry Cone, Burwell; Jay Martindale, Brewster; and Chris Gentry, Hyannis.  Governor Ricketts will appoint Widdowson's successor as a voting member of the Committee, and the Committee will hold an election of a new Chair at its next regular meeting scheduled for March 17, 2020 in Broken Bow, Nebraska.


The Nebraska Brand Committee has scheduled a meeting for March 13, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. CST, at Mid-Plains Community College 2520 E Street, Broken Bow, NE.

An agenda is kept at the Headquarter's Office in Alliance, NE.  For more information please contact the office at (308) 763-2930.



The Nebraska Brand Committee has scheduled a meeting for November 11, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. CST, at the Quality Inn & Suites in the East/West Bound Room at 2102 S Jeffers, North Platte, NE.

An agenda is kept at the Headquarter's Office in Alliance, NE.  For more information please contact the office at (308) 763-2930.



The Nebraska Brand Committee has scheduled a meeting for October 5th, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Express, 300 Holiday Frontage Road, North Platte, NE at 10:00 a.m. CST.

An agenda is kept at the Headquarters office here in Alliance, NE.  For more information please contact the office at (308) 763-2930.



January 25th, 2016

The Nebraska Brand Committee approved several fee increases at their last quarterly meeting held in North Platte, NE on December 9th, 2015.

The fees discussed and approved to be increased included:

Per head inspection increased to $1.00 per head from 75 cents per head.

Brand Transfer Fee increased to $40.00 from $35.00.

Brand Lease Fee increased to $100.00 from $1.00 (Renews on brand renewal date)

Brand Research increased to $20.00 an hour from $15.00 an hour. $1.00 per copy stayed the same.

Local Inspection Research increased to $20.00 an hour to $15.00 an hour. $1.00 per copy stayed the same.

Grazing Permits increased to $15.00 per year from $10.00 per year.

Out-of-State Branding Permit increased to $50.00 per permit from $25.00 per permit.

All fee increases are effective January 1st, 2016 with the exception of the per head inspection fee which has an effective date of February 1st, 2016.

October 9, 2014

Alliance, NE– The Nebraska Legislature earlier this year passed LB 768, which created a brand inspection service area in the non-brand inspection area of Nebraska.  This brand inspection service area includes all Nebraska counties and areas of Nebraska counties contiguous with the brand inspection area of Nebraska. The specific counties involved are eastern Knox, Antelope, Pierce, Boone, Nance, Merrick, Hall, Adams, Webster, and Furnas.

September 14, 2014

Alliance, NE — Levi A. Hollenbeck of Ainsworth, NE was sentenced on August 25, 2014 by the District Court of Holt County, NE to 180 days in the Holt County Jail and 3 years probation following his adjudged guilty charge on July 14, 2014 of sell, trade or dispose of livestock without a bill of sale, a Class III Felony.  

May 20, 2014

On Tuesday, May 20, 2014 John H Ortmeier, 70, of Omaha, NE pleaded not guilty in Dawson county District Court in Lexington, Nebraska on three counts of theft by deception. According to court documents, he allegedly purchased 278 head of cattle for $285,072.00 on three different occasions from Lexington Livestock Company.

May 1, 2014

The Nebraska Cattlemen has renewed its Theft Reward program and offers up to a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person(s) stealing cattle from a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen.

April 14, 2014

Alliance, NE – On March 27, 2014, James J Henderson of Verdel, NE entered a plea of guilty in the County Court of Knox County, NE for violation of Nebraska’s Livestock Brand Act, Leaving the Nebraska Brand Inspection Area Without Brand Inspection, a Class II Misdemeanor.