Organization Name: Minnesota Bison Association
What industry/sector do you identify with? Livestock – Bison
Number of employees, member patrons, growers, shareholders etc. in Minnesota:
The MnBA is made up of 160 members
What about your organization or company’s work are you most proud of?
The MnBA provides a lot of educational opportunities for current and prospective ranchers. We put together the industry’s first and only podcast dedicated to the business side of bison ranching. The Bison Insider Podcast is a resource that explores everything from live animal markets to updates from processors all the way to best practices at the ranch level. Beyond that, we offer a spring educational conference along with an outlet for ranchers to sell their animals at our Legends of the Fall Auction.
Please highlight key trends affecting your industry.
Demand for bison meat is strong today. Rising prices among other animal proteins have made bison more price competitive. We have a growing consumer base that is attracted to the qualities this animal provides. When you couple the impressive health benefits the meat offers with the positive ecological impact bison have, our industry matches well with consumer trends.
While meat demand is strong, the drought we experienced not only in the upper Midwest, but throughout the Plains and the Rocky Mountain region, has left ranchers short on grass. Some herds have been culled due to a lack of feed supply, and live animal markets have dipped in response to the continued drought and high feed costs.
Talk about the key opportunities & challenges facing your business over the next 5 years.
The bison industry has an opportunity to increase market share among consumers. Providing a consistent supply of animals for consumption and maintaining such a level could be challenging if herd numbers continue to be culled due to ongoing drought issues.
Gaining access for foreign consumer markets could provide a huge boost at the ranch level. Tariffs and other economic barriers will need to be removed in some cases.