Moffat County man named Brand Inspector of the Year
CRAIG — When members of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association gathered in January, they presented one of their highest honors to a Moffat County man.
Colorado Department of Agriculture Brand Inspector Brad Ocker was named the 2017 CCA Brand Inspector of the Year.
“I’d just like to thank everyone involved who thought I deserved this award,” Ocker said. “I like working here in Moffat County. I didn’t need to be hauled down to Denver to receive an award for doing my job, but I really do appreciate it.”
About 60 brand inspectors across Colorado are responsible for inspecting and issuing bills of travel for bovines and equines — cattle and horses, mules and donkeys — when they are shipped 75 miles or more, transported across state lines or when animal ownership changes.
An animal’s brand is it’s return address, according to the CDA website.
Ocker has work as a brand inspector for a little more than 20 years and relocated to Moffat County in 2004.
“Brand inspection has been (around) for more than 100 years. We’re doing the same thing they were doing back then, only with better trucks,” Ocker said, with a laugh. “And, if animals stray, we held get livestock back the rightful owner.”
The biggest change Ocker has faced during his career is the transition from paper to digital record keeping.
“The biggest change is technology. I used to go to a ranch with rope and a pair of clippers and book. Now, I have to run a computer,” he said.
His region covers most of Moffat County and some of Western Route, thousands of acres of land and some of biggest producers in the region.
“He has exceptional work ethics, integrity and livestock-handling abilities. Brad has been commended for his skills in treating livestock owners as a priority and in a timely and professional manner,” according to a news release from CCA.
The CCA presented the award to Ocker during its Foundation Banquet, part of the association’s mid-winter conference.
“CCA operates through its diverse and broad membership throughout Colorado that represents the majority of beef cattle production, private land ownership, state and federal lands grazing, businesses, and those who advocate for the industry,” said Todd Inglee, president of CCA.
The association praised Ocker’s involvement in solving one of Colorado’s biggest cattle theft cases. His work resulted in the recovery of cattle belonging to nine livestock producers in Moffat and Routt counties.
“Cattle rustling happens, but it is unusual. If we weren’t there keeping people honest, it would happen a lot more,” Ocker said. “If people are trying to do the right thing, I handle it without going to law enforcement. We’re out to help producers.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.