Outlook: The Future of the Buffalo Business
By Dave Carter, Executive Director
The American bison today faces a bright future, thanks in large part to private ranchers/farmers, public herd managers, tribal leaders, conservationists and consumers.
Most of the resurgence in the bison population has occurred over the past 25 years, as the public discovered the great taste of healthy, wholesome bison meat. Today, in fact, the National Bison Association is actively recruiting new participants to get into bison ranching/farming to help continue building the herds to match the continued consumer demand.
Consider these important facts:
- Bison meat sales now exceed $280 million annually in the U.S. in grocery stores and restaurants as more and more people discover the delicious taste and nutritional benefits of this all-natural product.
- More than 4,400 ranchers/farmers now raise bison in the United States.
- Bison are raised in every state of the U.S., including herds in Hawaii and Long Island, NY.
- The bison industry includes ranchers/farmers who offer both grass-finished and grain-finished animals, catering to every consumer taste.
- Bison meat is now found in nearly all natural food stores, and in a growing number of conventional retail and restaurant outlets.
- View the most recent bison market outlook survey here.
- View an overview of the 2012 Farm Bill here.
- View the NBA's "2012 Report Card" here.
The outlook for the American bison industry is extremely bright. The increasing demand for buffalo meat products is restoring profitability to ranchers/farmers. Even as producers of all types of livestock wrestle with the impact of drought, bison ranchers are benefiting from their herds’ natural ability to adapt to extreme conditions.
This is an excellent time to consider entering the buffalo/bison business. The National Bison Association offers a variety of services designed to assist new producers getting started. Last fall, the National Bison Association, in cooperation with the USDA Risk Management Agency, released a new 40-minute DVD entitled the Insiders Guide to Bison Handling and Management. This professionally produced DVD contains a series of individual segments that will provide you with an inside look into key elements of raising the animals, and marketing the products.
Joining the National Bison Association is the most economic approach to learning how to raise and market bison. Active and Life members will receive the First Edition of the Bison Producers' Handbook, our single best selling product, free of charge, a $40 value. Members will also receive the NBA’s renowned trade journal, Bison World, as well as our weekly electronic news service, the Weekly Update, which contains the most up to date industry news available today.
As a member of the National Bison Association, we can also connect potential producers with a bison mentor in their region. These industry veterans are always readily welcome newcomers into the community of bison producers.