Bison Industry Trying to Recruit New Ranchers as Demand Climbs



The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. bison industry is trying to convince more ranchers to raise bison thanks to a rising demand for bison burgers and steaks.  Retailers such as Whole Foods Market Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co. are seeing increased demand and its sending processors and markets on a mission to round up more producers. 

One major hurdle to recruiting ranchers: convincing them to handle animals that can grow to the size of a Mini Cooper, and sometimes get ornery.

“That’s like sticking bobcats in gunnysacks,” said Lee Graese, a former bodybuilder who raises bison with his wife, Mary, a dietitian, near Rice Lake, Wis. “If you can run into it at 35 miles per hour with your pickup and it’s still standing, you’ve got a pen that’ll hold a bison.”

Bison-meat sales might only command a fraction of the $100 billion in sales of other protein sources such as beef, chicken or pork.  Bison meat sales came in at a respectible $340 million last year, according to data from the National Bison Association and the demand keeps growing, averaging 22{75e25ebeb47fb4337942be2c10689dca1c292c2a66240b62c5ca4214f5b25ecc} growth over the past 5 years.   But bison producers say their meat boasts an edge in the marketplace as consumers seek out more naturally raised protein.  


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Source:  Wall Street Journal


 photo: CC0 Public Domain

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