In recent years the bison industry has gone from zero to 60 in very little time. What was once a mighty herd had dwindled to only a very few but the industry has made great inroads over the last 10-15 years. Now the Agriculture Department is about to ask bison producers for their help in conducting the first ever study of the bison industry. Dave Carter is the Executive Director of the National Bison Association.
CARTER: We petitioned USDA about a year and half ago to help us do an epidemiological study of the bison business and we were really pleased that we got such a quick response.
Meg Parker with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is helping coordinate the study.
PARKER: One of our goals is to provide information to producers that can help them improve the health and productivity of their herd and another goal is to develop baseline knowledge about the industry so that if a disease outbreak or other problem occurs we're better able to respond. And then additionally our results can help identify areas where further research would be helpful.
Carter urges bison producers to complete the USDA survey when it arrives in their mailboxes.
CARTER: The folks at APHIS up at Fort Collins here in Colorado have worked with us very closely to navigate through this and to develop this survey and we're really excited that we're on track to have this going out at the end of the month and we really encourage every producer out there that has a bison on their place to open this, to answer it and help us tell the USDA what is the best way that they can target their assistance to us.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.