Headwaters Livestock in Three Forks is managed by Jerry Olsen. He has nearly 33,000 cattle come in and out of his gates. He said the rising fees proposed by the Department of Livestock will force him to take a hit he's not looking forward to.
"Nobody likes to see an increase, nobody likes to pay more," said Olsen.
The Department of Livestock Executive Director Christian Mackay said the reason for the raises is because the department is facing a potential deficit from higher department costs and the cost of brucellosis testing. As a result, ranchers will have to pay more for certain fees in order to help the department absorb the costs.
Inspection fees will increase by 25 cents to $1. Olsen said that that cost is not one he likes to see, but it can also be a trade-off.
"A dollar a head isn't so much to speak about if you can't sell your critter to go out of state," said Olsen.
Olsen said he and other ranchers can only sell their cattle out of state if they do the brucellosis testing to make sure the cattle are free of the disease. The testing is part of the reason for the deficit and fee spikes.
When it comes down to it, Olsen said the higher costs are something he's willing to take, for now, compared to the financial hit he'd suffer if he couldn't do that testing and sell his cattle across state lines.
"If you ever go through brucellosis in your herd, it's devastating," said Olsen. "It's devastating financially because you can not get rid of your critters like you think you can."
Olsen said he has to deal with the fees for the health of his herd, but it doesn't stop him from asking -- "We just don't like to see what's down the road, more testing, more expenses and where's the end to all of this?"
The deadline for the Department of Livestock to submit its budget is Friday.