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Bison: A red meat alternative to beef and pork

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Its organic nature and lower calories are making bison meat a popular item. Places in Grand Forks like Sanders have it on the menu, but it comes with a high price tag.

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Mikkel Pates, Agweek

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Its organic nature and lower calories are making bison meat a popular item. Places in Grand Forks like Sanders have it on the menu, but it comes with a high price tag.

Doug Earl, owner of Siouxland Buffalo: "It's the alternative to beef and pork."

Last year, approximately 60,000 buffalo were slaughtered for meat in the U.S. according to the National Bison Association. They say its increasing popularity is stemming from its health benefits.

Doug: "It's always been promoted as no growth hormones or growth stimulants."

Because of its grass fed nature, most bison are considered organic. In a typical 100 gram serving, Cooked bison has about 3 grams of fat. Cooked beef has about 10.

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Doug: "Good lean bison should actually be higher in protein and lower in fat."

These health benefits come with a hefty price tag. L and M meats in Grand Forks sells ground bison at $9.69 a pound. Beef sells for just $4.99 a pound. The meat comes at a cost not only for the consumer, but also for the buffalo.

Doug: "There's probably less buffalo in this country than there was 50 years ago."

According to the National Bison Association, more than 30 million bison used to roam North America. The estimated herd size today is less than 350,000.

Doug Earl, a 4th generation farmer for Siouxland Buffalo in Grand Forks, says his sales represent the rising popularity of the meat.

Doug: "We are selling more animals live than processed."

Earl tells us he sells the bison for $4.00 a pound. At Sanders, you can grab a plate of bison ribs for $27.

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