HARTFORD, Ky. – Bison roam western Kentucky.
They had been introduced right here 5 years in the past by Ohio County farmer Tyson Sanderfur as a option to broaden his household’s tobacco, grain, turkey and cattle operations on Livermore Street.
“Evidently no entity is doing rather well, however all of them come collectively on the farm and it’s about reaching it,” Sanderfur stated. “Variety appears to be the important thing. We’re numerous within the sense that we’ve a bit of of every. “
It was in 2015 that Sanderfur noticed a singular alternative to boost bison, also called the “American buffalo,” to a sure weight earlier than promoting it to a devoted meat retailer.
Sanderfur stated he approached Bryan Hendrickson, a fellow farmer and good friend from Union County College, in regards to the concept of partnering with and investing in bison.
Sanderfur and Hendrickson purchased their first 15 bison heads from a vendor in Pennsylvania. His herd of bison has now grown to about 60, with the 2 farmers every elevating half.
On the Sanderfur farm, bison cows are raised to a closing weight of 1,200 kilos earlier than being offered at 24 months of age.
“It has been good,” Sanderfur stated of how effectively the corporate has completed. “It’s a area of interest market. It isn’t like you possibly can take them to an area pen and promote them. You need to have markets for the animals, which we do. And we’ve grown accordingly. “
Bison had been almost worn out within the 19th century by overhunting for his or her skins and tongues. They had been thought of an endangered species, however not anymore.
In response to the USDA’s 2017 census (information for the final yr was out there), there have been 183,780 bison in the US raised on ranches and personal farms.
And the Nationwide Bison Affiliation reported in January 2020 that bison meat gross sales in eating places and retail shops “now exceed $ 350 million a yr.”
From a well being standpoint, bison meat is significantly leaner than beef.
In response to the USDA Agricultural Analysis Service, 100 grams of uncooked bison (separable lean solely) incorporates 109 energy and 1.eight grams of fats. The identical quantity of uncooked beef (separable lean solely, alternative grade) incorporates 291 energy and 24 grams of fats.
Though Sanderfur had expertise in elevating cattle, he stated there’s a distinction between cattle and bison.
“A beef cow is a domesticated animal,” Sanderfur stated. “A bison continues to be a wild animal; it is not tame, irrespective of how lengthy you retain it or what you do. “
Sanderfur stated that elevating bison is costlier than cattle, however that up to now it has been price it.
“They’re a bit of costlier simply because, like I stated, they don’t seem to be tame however they convey extra,” Sanderfur stated. “So that they counteract one another.”
As for a way the general public reacts after they see their bison, Sanderfur stated it is not uncommon for passers-by to cease out of curiosity.
“I do not get many questions; it is primarily simply the spectators who will cross, cease and watch, ”stated Sanderfur. “From time to time, on a pleasant sunny day, you will note somebody taking footage.”