Bison Association Offers Free Bison Training

Training Targets Ag Leaders, Educators, Extension
Westminster, CO (June 2, 2016) - Have you heard the recent news about the bison becoming the first-ever National Mammal of the United States? Or maybe you’ve heard about the recent “kidnapping” of a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park?

Bison is in the news nearly every day, but most people are not aware that bison meat is also the fastest growing sector of the US meat industry. While still a fragment of the US protein sector, the emerging bison industry has developed a dedicated marketplace for this fine product over the past ten years and is now in need of more farmers and ranchers raising these incredibly hardy and resourceful animals to keep pace with growing demand.

Wholesale bison meat prices are approaching $4.50/lb. (hot hanging weight), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, about twice what a fed steer will currently bring.

The strong, stable prices are prompting more ranchers to explore the bison advantage. And to contact Extension offices, agricultural lenders, and other professionals to inquire about production and marketing opportunities.

Now, the National Bison Association (NBA) is scheduling six Bison Advantage Workshops, specifically targeting Agricultural Extension Agents, Vo Ag Teachers, and prospective bison producers. The workshops will kick off on June 11, and continue throughout the summer and fall. All workshops are being offered free of charge.
The scheduled workshops are:
June 11 - Hanna Buffalo Ranch, Baldwin KS - 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
June 15 - 777 Ranch, Rapid City, SD - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
June 21 - Snake River Farm, Becker, MN - Noon - 4 p.m.
August 5 - North Dakota Buffalo Association, Jamestown, ND - Noon - 4 p.m.
September 7 - Ruhter Bison, Urbana, IL - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
September 16 - Cook's Bison Ranch, Wolcottville, IN - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The workshops are being funded through the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which focuses its outreach in the north central US. The NBA is in the second year of administering the grant program.

In 2015, SARE funds were utilized to develop a series of educational materials focusing on the sustainable production of bison, including a bison-specific curriculum, the 300-page 2nd Edition Bison Produces' Handbook and an accompanying online training, Bison 301. This year, the grant funds are being used on educational outreach, which includes the aforementioned materials for participants to bring home as a "bison learning toolkit".

Participants must register no later than one week prior to the workshop date to participate. To register, simply email with your name and hometown, or with any questions.