Silver Lining for Bison
Bison producers were scheduled to have their summer conference this week. It was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
So the National Bison Association based in Westminster, CO decided to host a series of virtual learning sessions for members instead.Executive Director Dave Carter in Westminster:
Dave Carter: “We were fortunate to have some folks who did some market research present some information to us. And one of the things that we are very encouraged about is that people are trying bison for the first time through this COVID-19 issue, particularly when everyone ran to the grocery store to stock up. And for us that’s good news because we know that when people try bison, they’re going to come back for a second helping.
Carter says six NBA member-marketers shared how they faced the market disruption head-on. Three explained how they transitioned business to focus more on retail or direct-to-consumer markets when restaurants shut down. One even processed hogs for a brief time to weather the storm.
The National Bison Association recently submitted documents to the USDA arguing that bison producers should also be provided with access to federal support on par with the cattle ranchers. Carter says bison ranchers, finishers and marketers alike have been hit hard since March. Live bison prices have dropped, scheduling animals for processing is a nightmare, the farmers’ markets opening this season are doing so on a limited basis.
Carter: “Long term we think we’re a resilient business but we don’t want to see producers get tossed aside here as we work our way through this situation.”