Brand Program expected to be in the red again by 2022
Washington’s brand inspection program is again going broke, less than two years after lawmakers hiked fees on ranchers, dairies, feedlots, livestock markets, slaughterhouses and horse owners.
The new fees saved the program from bankruptcy, but provided only a reprieve. The program is back to losing money and will have a $305,000 deficit by mid-2023, the department projects.
The Washington Cattlemen’s Association has strongly supported the value of brand inspections, but ranchers are hard-pressed to meet expenses now, the association’s lobbyist, Mark Streuli, said.
“The cow-calf guys are at the bottom. They’re not the ones who can take an increase,” he said. “There is no where for them to pass fees on.”