Those in the know will understand the importance of brands as a means to identify stray and missing cattle. Brands have been around us since the early days of ranching back in the late 19th century.
The Saskatchewan Government wanted to celebrate the Province's Centennial in a way that recognized the role brands have played in the development of the cattle industry by publishing a special, limited edition of The Saskatchewan Registered Cattle and Horse Brands book.
Rusty Hawryluk is the Brand Registrar and Licensing Officer at Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and has overseen the project.
"We have printed 500 numbered copies in hardcover format," he says. "The cover is embossed with a replica of a special branding iron bearing the provincial logo of the wheat sheaf and the number ‘100’ below, with the years 1905-2005, acknowledging this is our Centennial year."
When people open the book, there is a cover page with a gold foil replica of the cover brand. As you keep turning the pages, there is a history of brands in Saskatchewan, as well as brand photographs from the Saskatchewan Archives Board. The rest of the book is a directory of current registered brands in Saskatchewan with the names and addresses of the brand holders, along with small pictures of their brands. The publication has 512 pages.
The brand registry is made up of more than 19,000 active livestock brands that Rusty Hawryluk looks after. The registry is of great significance to more than a few ranchers.
"Many of these brands almost have a personality of their own," he says. "They tell a story, much like an Egyptian hieroglyph might—like symbols. They can be associated with a family or ranch name, or a geographical location or landmark."
"Brands are not only part of the identity of the operations to which they belong, they are also the equivalent of an animal's 'return address.' Sometimes, an animal will make its way into another herd for a number of reasons. A brand ensures the animal is returned to its owner."
While electronic means of animal identification have been on the rise during the last few years, it seems brands still have a role to play. The designs are listed alphabetically and then numerically for easier identification of the owners.
Hawryluk believes this commemorative edition will be popular with livestock producers, brand holders, and the municipalities that often face the task of finding owners of lost cattle. He expects the entire special Centennial edition will sell out in no time.
The book is available for $65.00. To get your copy, call (306) 787-4682.
For more information, contact:
Brand Registrar and Licensing Officer
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food