Bison poised to gain larger market


WESTMINSTER, Colo. – Following on the third consecutive year of double-digit increases in bison meat sales, the U.S. buffalo industry is poised to continue to expand both production and sales in 2008, according to the Colorado-based National Bison Association.
USDA year-to-date slaughter data indicates that 2007 this year will wrap up with an 18 percent increase in bison meat sales. The harvesting of bison for meat will have nearly tripled since the USDA began tracking the industry in 2000.
Positive. “All signs in our industry are positive,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. “One of our major priorities for 2008 will be to bring new producers into the business to help meet the surging consumer demand.”
According to the USDA, 47,098 bison have been processed under federal inspection through Dec. 7, compared to 39,985 head processed during the comparable period in 2006.
In November, processors paid an average of $2.04 per pound on prime bull carcasses, which is more than 24 cents per pound higher than the price paid in November 2006, according to USDA.
Prices paid by ranchers for breeding bison surged by roughly 20 percent over the previous year’s average at the November Custer State Park Bison auction, long considered a bellwether sale for the industry.
Trends. Carter said several consumer food trends are contributing to the strength of the bison business.
“People have discovered that bison is a great tasting, healthy meat that is sustainably produced by North American ranchers,” Carter said.
He added that continued growing demand offers a strong incentive for new producers to enter the bison business.

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