The 20th anniversary meeting of the National Bison Association | TSLN.com

The 20th anniversary meeting of the National Bison Association

Optimistic attitudes among bison producers attending the National Bison Association's 20th Anniversary conference and strong prices paid at the annual bison auction held at the National Western Stock Show last week, both reflect the strong outlook for the buffalo business in the coming years.

"Attendance at our annual conference and the prices paid during the Gold Trophy Show and Sale both demonstrate that our ranchers and marketers have built a strong foundation for the continued growth of our business," said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association.

According to Carter, the nearly 400 ranchers attending the association's annual conference here in late January included many newcomers to the business.

"The bison business today is on solid footing because we have built a strong relationship with our customers based upon the quality of our meat, and the integrity of our animals," Carter said. "The general sessions and smaller workshops at our conference focused heavily on the steps needed to continue to build our business. The optimism among our long-time producers, and the energy of the newcomers to our business, combined to make for an exciting conference."

The optimism was evident on Saturday, as ranchers continued to demonstrate a willingness to invest in quality breeding stock to build their herds. Two-year old bred heifers brought an average of $5,159 during the association's Gold Trophy Sale at the Stock Show, compared to the $3,157 average price paid at the 2014 event. Yearling heifers averaged $3,361, and heifer calves sold for an average of $1,609. Two-Year Old bulls averaged $8,656, yearling bulls averaged $5,147, and bull calves averaged $2,365.

Bison Spirit Ranch of Manitoba, Canada captured the Grand Champion Bull Trophy and Bridger Valley Buffalo of Lyman, Wyoming captured the Grand Champion Female Award. Misty Brady of Bridger Valley Buffalo was named Producer of the Year.

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Members attending the bison association's annual conference also re-elected Bruce Anderson of South Dakota to serve another year as President. Roy Liedtke of Texas was elected Vice President, and Jason Moore of Indiana was elected Secretary Treasurer, and Dick Gehring of Kansas was elected Director at Large. Paul Kolesar of Alberta was elected by the NBA members to serve as International Director on the association board.

Peter Cook of Indiana will continue to chair the board meetings as Past President.

At the association's annual awards banquet, Bud Koeppen of Indiana was honored as Member of the Year for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the bison industry.

–National Bison Assoc.