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Bison Marketers Working to Address Challenges of Booming Demand Industry Statement Acknowledges Challenges, But Refuses to ‘Cut Corners’ on Quality

With growing consumer demand outpacing the available supply of bison meat, the commercial marketers along with the Canadian Bison Association and National Bison Association have released a joint statement outlining the steps now being taken to work with ranchers in both countries to “grow the herds” of bison in North America.

The statement adopted by the marketers last week acknowledges that the current tight supply situation creates challenges for retailers, restaurant owners, and marketers alike, but stressed that the steps being taken to expand bison herds will require patience from all sectors.

“Bison is a niche product. Bison as a species were perfected by nature into an animal that thrives in the ecosystem in our part of the world. We’re not going to tinker with that. However, this also means that it will take time for our producers to increase production to meet the demand.”

The statement notes that even though sales of bison meat have doubled since 2005, the sector is still a small fraction of the meat marketplace. According to the statement, the 92,000 head of bison processed in the United States and Canada last year represented less than one-day’s processing of beef in the United States.

“Our associations today are working to ‘grow the herd’ of bison across North America by reaching out to producers who are wearying of being a part of commodity agriculture,” the statement reads. “We are conducting workshops across the country on bison production, producing new materials to assist ranchers in making a transition and reaching out to lenders to enhance their understanding the industry so that they are prepared to finance bison operations.”

The marketers developed the joint statement to help inform various participants in the marketplace that the industry is dedicated to expanding available supply, but will not compromise on the protocols that distinguish bison as a natural meat product.

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