Update on Bison Production

Update on Bison Production

Update on Bison Production. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

We have heard plenty about the economic woes of the ag industry. Low prices, high input costs. One small corner of the ag industry though is having a major surge. Dave Carter, Executive Director of the National Bison Association.

CARTER: Right now the bison industry is enjoying a sustained period of some real strong growth. We’re seeing the prices that the ranchers are receiving for their slaughter stock are continuing to stay high in fact continuing to climb a bit. As we’ve watched the economic situation through some of this downturn we see some very encouraging signs.

Carter says that demand for bison meat is on an upswing.

CARTER: Not only are our overall sales growing but like some of the other meat sectors we’re seeing more demand for the trim and the roast. Maybe not so much for the tenderloins and the rib eyes but what that tells me is our customers have made a decision to eat bison, they like bison and even though they might have to cut back a little bit they’re still buying bison.

We do enjoy a good bison steak or burger at the Martin home but Carter says with all that good news there is a challenge.

CARTER: The real challenge that we see ahead as an industry is to make sure that we’re going to have the animals out there in the next few years to meet the growing consumer demand and that’s why we’re focusing a lot of the attention right now on either getting some existing producers to increase their herds or getting some new folks into the business.

We’ve all heard the stories of how bison virtually covered the prairies in the 1800’s and how they were hunted to the very brink of extinction. Herds of bison are now quite prolific and becoming more plentiful. There was a significant spike in the mid-90’s followed by a major tumble that Carter says they learned a lot from.

CARTER: I think since then as we’ve picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off we’ve said number one we are going to grow this business as quick as we can get people to start enjoying the taste of bison but when we do that we want to make sure that we grow quickly enough that we don’t price ourselves out of the marketplace too.

More tomorrow with Dave Carter.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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