North Dakota's Board of Animal Health is supporting a proposed increase in the state's cattle brand inspection fee, although a ranching group official wants more information about how the fees are spent.

The board on Tuesday backed raising the charge to $1/animal, which would be the first increase in seven years. Board members agreed to drop an earlier proposal to charge a minimum $5 fee for inspecting five or fewer cattle at one time.

Brand inspections are done to prove a rancher's ownership of livestock that is being shipped out of state. Most are sent to feedlots or slaughterhouses.

Almost 1.36 million inspections were done last year, according to the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, a private organization that handles the state's program and employs its staff. The group expects its number of inspections to rise slightly next year, to 1.375 million, said its director, Julie Ellingson.

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