Travel back with me about 200 years. The American Bison (or buffalo) roamed the plains, unchallenged as America’s rugged icon- from Canada to Mexico. With over 40 million strong, it would have seemed impossible to see them dwindle to 750 within just a few short decades. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. This was one of the most tragic consequences of American greed and apathy toward our natural resources in our Nation’s history. Bison were used extensively by the Native Americans for meat, tools, and clothing. From the tip of the nose to the last hair of the tail, everything was utilized. But something has changed.
Recently, the population has recovered some, but our environmental practices in some ways remain just as primitive as they were in the 1800’s. There are producers even now that sell the meat, leaving everything else to waste. But what can “everything else” actually produce? First of all, buffalo hides can be tanned into high quality leather products such as: belts, bedding, clothing, saddles, wallets, pouches, etc. The bones can create incredible works of jewelry, figurines, tools, and the like. Organic soaps have even been made with buffalo tallow. The point is- it is 2014. We really need to get our act together. Now, let’s take a tastier look at what this incredible creature has to offer.
Bison meat is some of the most nutritious on the planet, even when compared to America’s second love, BEEF. It has more protein, less fat, less cholesterol, less calories, more iron, and more Vitamin B12. For these reasons, Bison meat has quickly been heralded as the go-to protein source for the health-conscious. See for yourself.
Once again, the Bison population is diminishing. Producers are running thin, leading to a seemingly irresolvable increase in the demand for this delicious meat. One possible reason is that the original producers are selling off their stock as they near retirement. The younger generation, perhaps, is not as anxious to get into the business. This needs to change. We need producers that not only take pride in sustainable agriculture, but are determined to help restore the Bison to its former glory- as America’s icon.
Look with me 200 years into the future. Bison herds are a common sight, they once again stretch from Canada to Mexico- not as wild herds, but in the capable hands of American farmers. Every part of the bison will be used, just as it was in the days of old. All of this can only be achieved through determination, exposure on a national level, and a few people willing to take a risk to save the American Bison- and the American agricultural way of life.