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wisconsin bison producers association
wisconsin bison

Q. Does the meat from bison cows taste as good as the meat from bison bulls? If it does, why do cows cost less than bulls?
A. Meat from female bison is very good. Some folks think it taste even better than meat from bulls. Female bison (...like most animal species) naturally have a little more fat. Fat adds a little flavor and a bit of tenderness. Of course females are considerably smaller than males causing the primal cuts (steaks & roasts) to be smaller. This is the main reason a cow is less expensive than a bull.
 
Q. If you are able to purchase bison directly from their farms, how do you know how often their farms are inspected for cleaniness and disease free meat cutting and packaging?
A. Thanks for your question. The concerns about food safety are certainly timely. In Wisconsin as with most states, meat must be inspected if it is offered for sale. Most of us have our animals proccessed at state (DATCP) or federal (USDA) inspected plants. If you buy bison at a farm, farmers market, grocery/meat market, health food store or restaurant, every package of meat will contain an inspection label identifying the processing plant as well as a safe handling label. The exception to this is if you contact directly with the farmer to purchase a whole, half or quarter animal and make the arrangements for processing (i.e. cutting) & packaging yourself, then its possible that no inspection could occur. In general, there are no farm inspections at this time. However, the nature of bison ranching tends to be cleaner and healthier. Bison are allowed to range on pastures and, while some producers finish their animals in feed lots, the majority are never in a feed lot. Bison receive no hormones or antibiotics. And bison tend to be processed in small lots -- one or two animals at a time. Most producers will encourage you to visit their farms to see the way we raise our animals.
 
Q. I live in Indiana and have always wanted to raise Bison for a living. I need to know what steps to take to start my dream job. Can I truly make a living at it? What type of grass do they do best on? Where is the market?
A. There are a few people in the midwest who are making their living in the bison industry but in all honesty, most of us have an off-farm job to supplement our family income. Those who are making their living from bison are successful primarily by aggressively selling meat. Most of these folks raise animals and buy animals from other producers. They spend most of their time, however, selling meat. Unlike other livestock producers (i.e. beef, pork, lambs), we don't have the option of taking excess bison to the auction barn nor do we have contracts with large meat packers. We make our own markets. There are a few cooperatives, however, but none that I'm aware of near Indiana. Selling meat is not difficult. People want bison. The only trick is getting out and knocking on doors. Some of our members have been very successful selling through the internet. Most have a farm store and many sell at farmers market. Some sell to restaurants, grocery stores, health food shops and/or sporting goods stores. Being near a good size population center (Indianapolis for example) makes the job easier but some of us live way off the beaten path and can still sell meat. Bison are very adaptable to the grass that is available. If you have the luxury of starting from scratch, any good balance pasture mix (containing mostly grasses and some legumes) will be fine. A separate pasture with warm season grasses to carry the critters through the hot parts of summer is wonderful but a luxury most of us don't have. The National Bison Producers Association (NBA) publishes an excellent primer on raising bison, the Bison Breeders Handbook. You receive the Handbook free with membership in the NBA or you can purchase it from the NBA. Check out their website at www.bisoncentral.com or call them at 303/292-2833
 
Q. What are the fencing laws for raising bison in Wisconsin? What fencing is recommended over and above what is required by law? Thank you for your assistance.
A. You've posted an interesting question. Fencing regulations are contained in the Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 90 (see http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/). There are several options constituting a legal fence (e.g. high tensile, barbed wire, woven wire, board, etc.) and there are other requirements if the fence abutes a neighbor's property. We suggest you take a look at the rules. We are not aware of any specific legal requirements for bison. Of course, from a practical standpoint, a bison fence is typically taller than a domestic livestock fence, plenty strong and in good condition. Our members have any combination of high tensile, barbed wire and woven wire fencing ( no one that we are aware of uses board fences). We encourage you to visit bison farms to take a look at the types of fencing other folks use and to talk to a few fencing contractors. Thanks for your question.
 
Q. Hello, I enjoyed brosing your web site! I have just bought some Bison , the cut being "tri-tip" ....I cant find that on your chart of different cuts........... Where would it be from, and is it a grilling type cut??
A. Thanks for taking time to look at our website. And, a BIG thanks for buy bison meat. A tri-tip is basically a sirloin tip roast. Generally, this should be roasted. However, it could be tenderized for grilling by marinading and using a blade tenderizer. In either case, the meat should be cooked only until pink inside. Let the meat set for about 15 minutes before slicing very thinly. A sirloin tip can also be used as a pot roast. There are several roast recipes on our website. Click the red "EAT" bison logo to get to recipes
 
Q. Hi. I am a nutrional educator with the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Newport News, VA. I recently received a phone call from someone who told us she purchased an 8lb. bison london broil and would like to know how to cook it? Should she marinate it first? What do you suggest for a marinade? > Thank you very much
A. Thanks for your question. I'm not sure what cut this would be. I call flank steak London broil but they only weigh about a pound. Based on the size of this cut, chances are that it is a roast of some sort. In this case it should be marinated and tenderized. Any acid containing marinade will work. My favorite is red wine, a little olive oil, garlic and a splash of worchestersire sauce. I'd also recommend using a blade tenderizer several times during the marinading process. The meat can then be grilled or broiled until the center is pink. Let the meat sit for about 15 minutes before cutting very thinly on a diagonal to the grain of the meat. Now if the cut happens to be a tender cut (i.e. strip, ribeye, tenderloin) marinading is not necessary and blade tenderizing is not really recommended. Hope this helps.
 
Q. Where can I buy bison meat?
A. Many WBPA producers sell bison meat directly from their farm or at farmers markets. Some groceries and meat markets carry our members' products but if they don't, ask the meat manager to carry bison. As a buyer, you dictate what stores will sell.
 
Q. Are there a lot of bison farms in Wisconsin?
A. There are about 150 bison producers in Wisconsin with about 10,000 animals.
 
Q. What meat cuts can be expected from a buffalo?
A. Any cut that is typical from a beef animal can be expected from a bison.
 




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