Bison production: an analysis of species, production potential, market trends and management considerations

Arland, Jessica
Bison continually remain an important part of the American west. The North American population of Bison fell from over 40 million animals over 300 years ago to roughly 1,500 animals around 100 years ago. However, numbers have increased to over 100,000 animals today. In accordance to the continued growth in health awareness and promotion throughout the United States, bison production has increased to meet the demand as a healthy alternative to beef. While annual slaughter of Bison is less than half of a typical day's slaughter of cattle, demand for Bison meat appears strong. There appears to be room for significant growth in this industry, given proper planning and production expectations. However, anyone interested in producing Bison needs to be aware of the character and behavior of Bison, reproductive, genetic, nutritional, environmental needs, as well as costs of production when venturing into this enterprise. There are major differences as compared to raising cattle that may be overlooked by an unprepared producer. This report concludes with an economic analysis of Bison production, including enterprise budget analysis, implications of various management decisions, and overall profitability for a Wyoming producer.
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