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An increase in reports of missing cattle likely caused by wildfires, grazing changes – not thefts

The Nebraska Brand Committee says recent wildfires and changes in grazing management could be causing an increase in reports of missing cattle.

John Widdowson is the committee’s executive director. “We are seeing basically normal activity in these potential missing cattle.  I can’t answer if they’re stolen or lost.”

He tells Brownfield it’s likely some ranchers might have lost cattle when rotating pastures this summer or if wildfires damaged fences. “Some of the missing cattle reports that we’ve gotten are probably effects of some of those fires where fences have been burned or through the process of fighting fires.  Gates are turned open and getting cattle out of certain areas to get away from the fire.  There might be some comingling and mixing of cattle due to those scenarios.”

If producers have missing cattle, Widdowson says they need to alert their neighbors and local brand inspector. “Because our local brand inspectors are constantly doing inspections and that word of mouth – a lot of things can get fixed with word of mouth very quickly with giving those details to your local brand inspector.”

He says the committee’s Facebook page regularly shares missing cattle reports, but that doesn’t mean they are stolen.

John Widdowson, Nebraska Brand Committee Executive Director:

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