Your Green Life: "Bison Ranch"

By KBJR News 1

October 24, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 8:24 AM CDT

Twig, MN

Bison have roamed the United States for centuries. In the early 1800's they were nearly brought to extinction by over-harvesting. But today the population has come back and now farmers are raising them for food.

John Lane, a Local Bison Farmer, said "Most of the bison are what you would call free range, they don't go in a barn."

This is natural for the Bison who are use to roaming the plains. But its also green. By not feeding them grains, like we do with cows, we can reduce the amount of food and energy used to feed them. Bison are also less damaging to their pastures compared to some other domesticated animals.

"I have four horses for instance, and if they find a good plot of ground, they'll eat it down till its almost dirt, the bison don't do that." said Lane.

This allows for the pasture to regenerate quicker. Growing Bison in our region is also important to our local economy. That's why the Duluth Grill switched some of their red meat menu options to bison.

"We originally switched to a bison product that we just had confidence that we knew the grower, we knew the farmer, we knew the rancher, and we wanted to have a food product that we could be 100% confidant in." says Tom Hanson from the Duluth Grill.

Its also a healthier option, with almost 2/3 less fat and calories than most beef steaks, and just as much protein per serving.

"Primarily the people who come to me for product are the ones that are really concerned about the food they put into their bodies." Lane says.

But for John it just comes down to one reason.

"I pretty much eat it because it tastes good." Lane states.

There once was an estimated tens of–millions of bison in the U.S. and within a decade the population was brought down to a few hundred due to over harvesting. Today there is an estimated five–hundred–thousand.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch