12/11/2013 02:41 EST | Updated 02/10/2014 05:59 EST

Saskatchewan hands over brand inspection services to livestock industry

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is handing over brand inspection services to a herd of livestock industry associations.

The province says industry groups have formed a non-profit corporation that will start delivering the services Jan. 1.

The new Livestock Services of Saskatchewan (LSS) Corp. is tasked with providing brand inspections more efficiently.

The groups include the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association, the Saskatchewan Horse Federation and the Livestock Marketers of Saskatchewan.

The government says agriculture ministry staff who have been responsible for brand inspections will move to LSS.

Brand inspections help ensure that animals offered for sale are rightfully owned by the people selling them.

"It is an important service, and as producers and industry are the primary users of brand inspection, it makes sense to transfer it to livestock organizations," Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said Wednesday in a release.

The government noted that both Alberta and British Columbia have industry-delivered livestock brand inspections.

Stewart said the government will retain responsibility for legislation governing the inspections.