The delicious taste of bison begins on the native rangelands and pastures of North America. Mother Nature perfected bison over thousands of years to produce flavorful, healthy meat from the native grasses and other plants in our ecosystem. All bison spend the majority of their lives on these native pastures. Through the years, producers have learned that “less is more.” In other words, handling the animals as little—and as humanely—as possible results in a healthier animal, and a better meat product.
In the last few months before the meat is harvested, many bison are finished on a diet of grains, forbs, and roughage. This provides a consistent product that many customers desire. Finishing facilities used for bison must accommodate the animal’s natural social behavior, with ample space and quality nutrition. Some of these bison are finished in the pastures, with grain and roughage provided on a “free choice” basis.
An increasing number of bison today are kept on pasture thought their lives. Producing grass-finished bison is challenging because of the variable nature of our seasons, grasses, and because of periodic droughts. Ranchers are working together, though, to provide a consistent supply of quality grass-finished bison meat for today’s market.
All bison are raised without questionable drugs, chemicals or growth hormones. In fact, federal regulations prohibit the use of growth hormones in bison, as well as antibiotics administered to promote growth. The NBA Code of Ethics also binds members to uphold the commitment to keeping bison truly “all-natural.”
Research by Dr. M. Marchello at North Dakota State University has shown that the meat from Bison is a highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value. Comparisons to other meat sources have also shown that Bison has a greater concentration of iron as well as some of the essential fatty acids necessary for human well being.