North Dakota Stockmen's Association names honorary local brand inspectors

North Dakota Stockmen's Association
Ag News

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) recognized long-time brand inspectors Mark and James “Jim” Huseth with the NDSA’s Honorary Local Brand Inspector Awards at a special awards banquet during its annual convention in Fargo.

The Huseth name has been heard many times within the history of the NDSA. Their father Irvin served on the NDSA Board of Directors and was NDSA president from 1990 to 1992.

Mark and Jim recall sitting around the table one morning in 1984, when their dad had returned from NDSA meetings in Bismarck. While going over their plans for the day, Irvin let both boys know they would be putting the work in and becoming local brand inspectors.

“I think there was a need in our area and Dad decided we needed to step up and fill that need as other inspectors slowed down and cattle kept moving,” said Jim, the younger of the brothers.

Mark and Jim took different paths as they became local brand inspectors and in life, but their commitment to the industry has stayed true, as they both celebrate more than 37 years of brand inspecting.

Mark Huseth never set out to be a beef industry leader, he just got involved in organizations he believed in. “If you want to make a difference in the industry from which you make your living, you have to take an active role in it,” said Mark.

The McLeod, N.D., cattleman and his family have a cow-calf operation and bred heifer development program and raise alfalfa, corn and soybeans. The farm and ranch have always kept Mark busy, but, to give back to his industry and make a difference, he stepped up to serve. He was a member of NDSA board of directors and devoted his time as NDSA president from 2006 to 2008, following in the footsteps of his father.

He has served on the North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation board, with his term expiring this year. The 47-year member will add another NDSA acknowledgment to his list, being named one of the 2021 honorary local brand inspectors.

Mark believes he brought a unique perspective to the board of directors, the brand board and the president position because of his background as a local brand inspector.

“Being a local brand inspector helped me know more of the background and the foundation of the association before I ever stepped into any leadership role,” he said. “Then, through my service, I was able to have a voice for local inspectors.” Had he not started off as a local brand inspector, he may not have become as involved as he did in the association or as dedicated to making a difference in the industry, he said.

“I started off by brand inspecting, believing it was to help others move their cattle at the right time within the law,” said Mark. “It was to provide a service.” As a brand inspector, Mark had to know how to work with people and be reliable. “Brand inspectors really represent the state of North Dakota, the NDSA and, most specifically, the brand inspection program.”

Throughout his time representing the state’s beef industry, Mark has had the opportunity to meet many industry leaders. “We have great people in the state who are dedicated to their operations and their industry,” said Mark.

Mark and his wife Eileen have two grown children, Travis and Tony (Ericka), and two grandchildren, Sydney and Max.

Jim Huseth grew up on his family’s farm and ranch in Freeman Township alongside his parents, Irvin and Myra, brother Mark and sister Marsha. “Growing up, Dad, Mark and I worked together on the ranch,” said Jim. “We were all very involved.” His passion has always been agriculture and he has continued to be involved in the industry.

“While I am not actively farming or ranching, I have stayed involved through my career and as a local brand inspector,” said Jim. He attended North Dakota State University for animal science and has since worked in industry, holding positions at RDO Equipment and Stockmen’s Supply. Currently, Jim is the general manager at Wyndmere Auto. “I was lucky enough to be offered a job 15 minutes from where I grew up and am excited to be home,” he said.

As he is back in his home country, he is excited about the opportunity to continue inspecting. “When Mark and I first started, it was if Mark wasn’t available to brand inspect, he would give me a call and see if I was able to do so,” said Jim. “It was important for us to be accessible to the producer and reliable enough for them to call.”

During the time that Jim spent closer to the Minnesota/North Dakota border, he inspected a number of cattle coming to and from feedlots. “Feedlots are always moving and shipping cattle,” said Jim.

“A brand is a sense of identity, as well as pride,” said Jim, reminding producers not to take what they have for granted. “You have your operation, and your brand signifies you.” Jim believes being a brand inspector, along with being a job, is an honor and a privilege. It has also kept him actively involved in the cattle business, his first love.

Jim has two grown daughters, Miranda and Megan, and two grandchildren, Michael and Jacob.