Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Bison ranchers rebuild their thinned herds as consumer demand grows
Record-high bison prices are good news for ranchers — if only they had more of the regal beasts to sell. In the topsy-turvy world of bison, consumer demand is outstripping supply. That has the industry scrambling to rebuild herds after years of decline. "Five years ago, I spent 90 percent of my time trying to get people to eat bison. Now, I spend 90 percent of my time getting people to raise bison," said Dave Carter, executive director of the Westminster-based National Bison Association. The volatile bison industry surged in the 1990s when it appeared that bison meat — also known as buffalo — would be a popular trend. Ranchers made a run on breeding animals, sending prices soaring. But consumer interest was slow to develop, and retail prices failed to cover production costs. Prices crashed, and many ranchers fled the industry. But times have changed. Bison meat finally has reached its anticipated popularity. "The message we've put out has really resonated," Carter said. "It's a lean and healthy food, and it tastes great. People have taken that first taste, and now they're looking for more." Strong consumer demand combined with short supplies have generated record prices — as high as $9.50 to $10 a pound for ground meat at retail — that once again have caught the attention of producers. The total U.S. bison herd will reach an estimated 215,000 in 2012, up from the past few years but still below the modern-era high of 225,000 in 2002...more