U.S. bison industry says ‘help wanted’ to farmers

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. — The U.S. bison industry may soon be hanging out a “Help Wanted” sign to encourage farmers to expand their herds — and to entice new producers to enter the business — according to the head of the National Bison Association.

“The American public is catching onto the great taste of bison, so bison ranchers must continue to build their herds to meet this growing demand,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association.

Price surge

Earlier this year, a USDA report showed the largest month-to-month increase in wholesale bison prices since the agency began tracking the industry’s performance in July 2004.

According to the monthly wholesale bison price report posted by the USDA Livestock and Grain Market Price Reporting Service, prices for prime slaughter bulls jumped 3.5 percent from February to March, and prices for prime slaughter heifers surged by 4 percent.

“The market prices today underscore the need for new production to fill the growing consumer demand,” said Carter.

The association is mounting a campaign to encourage new producers to enter the bison business, including new informational guide, Why Bank on Bison?, distributed to agricultural lenders across the country.

Learn basics online

In addition, the association is continuing to offer its free online Bison 101 course, which is designed to guide prospective producers through the beginning steps of bison production.

Anyone may enroll for Bison 101 by e-mailing info@bisoncentral.com.

The online curriculum was developed with the assistance from the USDA Risk Management Agency.

The latest USDA monthly price report can be found at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/nw_ls526.txt.

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