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Mikkel Pates, Agweek

Bison business achieves record growth in 2016

Westminster, Colo. - Bison producers are closing out a record year of profitability and recognition, and are looking forward to continued growth in 2017, according to Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association.

"We're wrapping up a banner year, with Congress designating bison as the national mammal and the American public increasingly choosing bison meat for their families," Carter said. "Our challenge for 2017 is to continue to build the business so that we can bring more bison back to pastures and rangelands across North America."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the prices marketers paid for dressed bison bulls averaged higher than $4.30/lb. throughout 2016. Dressed prices refer to the amount paid to ranchers once the animal is harvested.

"We anticipate that prices will remain strong as demand for bison meat continues to grow," Carter said.

The bison business notched several accomplishments in 2016. Most notable was congressional passage of legislation establishing bison as national mammal. President Obama signed the bill into law in May.

Carter said that the National Bison Association is planning several programs to reach out to new producers in 2017. The association's winter conference and live bison show and sale at the National Western Stock Show in Denver January 18-21 provide an opportunity for prospective producers to investigate the business.

In July, the National Bison Association and the Canadian Bison Association will team up to host the fifth-ever International Bison Conference in Big Sky, MT. And, the bison association will be developing a series of new resources for direct marketers of bison next year with funding provided by the USDA's Farmers' Market Promotion Program.

Information on all things bison is available at bisoncentral.com.

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