North Dakota brand inspector has been ‘riding the brands’ for 55 years

Delbert Eszlinger, 75, has been a state brand inspector for 55 years. He’d like to make it to 60, and describes his role in keeping cattle trade across state lines safe and legal.


By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek (ND)

Jan 12th 2021


ASHLEY, N.D. — Delbert Eszlinger, 75, has been a part-time local cattle brand inspector for 55 years.


Every year, just before Christmas, the Ashley, N.D., rancher gets a little card in the mail, renewing his appointment.


“To be honest with you, I never thought I would last this long in this field,” Eszlinger said.


Eszlinger inspects movements involving a total of about 2,000 head of cattle that go to 12 to 14 locations along the border in McIntosh County, sometimes assisting in Dickey County. The inspections are designed so if a cattle operator from South Dakota or Minnesota rents a pasture for the grazing season, they only take their own cattle home.


He spends about 35 days a year doing the work. It’s yearlong, but there is more work in October, November and early December.


It’s an as-needed business.


“You never know when you’re going to get a call,” Eszlinger said. “They’re supposed to give a guy two days notice in advance. Some of them give two or three hours notice. Most of the guys call the night before.”


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