Outlook: The Future of the Buffalo Business
North America’s bison ranchers and marketers have worked hard over the past two decades to establish a unique, strong and profitable position in the American marketplace.
Today, we are a viable, alternative sector in the agricultural economy, and a growing part of the good food movement.
The National Bison Association has helped lead this growth by forging strong relationships across the American landscape. For example, the National Bison Association linked with the InterTribal Buffalo Council and the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2012 to embark on a dedicated campaign that resulted in passage of legislation four years later establishing bison as the National Mammal of the United States.
Meanwhile, we have worked elsewhere in Washington, D.C. to successfully build working relationships with key leaders within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies. Those relationships have resulted in new resources for bison research, marketing, and risk management. Through the assistance of USDA’s Risk Management Agency, we have now launched a state-of-the-art app to help producers monitor and manage their herds.
Partners on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate and House have introduced legislation to protect bison producers and consumers from the impact of water buffalo meat being deceptively labeled to masquerade as bison.
During the past two years, the National Bison Association has worked with academic leaders, federal officials and others to officially establish the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies. This Center will be housed within South Dakota State University, but will include participation from researchers from a wide variety of land grant universities, including Tribal institutions.
A formal memorandum of understanding established among the National Bison Association and the InterTribal Buffalo Council in 2014 continues to unite our respective organizations in a common commitment to the success of private and tribal producers.
And, the strong working relationship with the Canadian Bison Association assures that bison producers on both sides of the 49th Parallel are working together for the betterment of our business.
These partnerships are all helping to restore bison to their historic habitat across North America.
But the most important relationship is the one that bison producers and marketers are establishing with the American public. People from coast to coast are increasingly embracing the great taste, and nutritional attributes of deliciously healthy bison meat. Bison represents something unique in the marketplace, and we are dedicated to making sure that we never compromise the quality of the meat, or the integrity of the animal.
We are continuing to build our relationship with the public. For example, our new BuySome Bison mobile app—developed through the assistance of USDA’s Farmers’ Market Promotion Program—is a user-friendly tool for people to locate bison meat, bison products and bison agritourism opportunities near them. Our work with social media influencers during the past year is another step taken to get the word out about bison.
This partnership with our customers is grounded in much more than simply selling product. Our customers are vital partners in restoring bison herds, and in addressing climate change. That’s why we have formally launched our Partner in Bison Restoration labeling campaign. Companies connected with bison can utilize this new label to help their customers understand that restoring bison herds is helping to also restore North America’s vital grassland ecosystem; an ecosystem that has been identified by the University of California at Davis as a more resilient carbon trap than forests.
The National Bison Association has trademarked the term: Nature’s Original Plant-Based Protein to help the public understand that all-natural bison meat made from grass, grain and minerals has a tangible nutritional and environmental advantage over the plethora of synthetic, lab-grown, meat-like products concocted from a long list of unrecognizable ingredients.
Our 2019 annual report summarizes the key accomplishments of the NBA during the past year. See our Bullish on Bison report, which highlights the many economic indicators that signal a bright future for the bison business.
Continued growth will require even more attention to consumer promotion, producer recruitment, and public policy involvement. The National Bison Association is the voice of American bison producers. Your membership commitment helps keep that voice strong on your behalf.