Wait! What? You own a bison ranch? Is generally the reaction when people learn we own a bison ranch. I must not look like your stereotypical cowgirl. As the wife of a serial entrepreneur I never know what is next, so I just hang on for the ride and work to support my husband’s dreams. Our ranch is called Red Cedar Bison. You can often find me at the Franklin Farmers Market with Dennis along with our partners Brock and Kari selling bison meat and handing out samples.
Let me introduce you to a few of the bison and answer some of the frequently asked questions about bison.
You say buffalo, we say bison. What’s the story? Is it like, you say tomato, I say tomahto? Or is the actually a difference between buffalo and bison?
In the United States both the term bison and buffalo are used in reference to the same animal. The truth is that genetically they are worlds apart. Bison is the correct term for the American bison. When European settlers came to America they confused American bison (Bison bison) with African Buffalo (Synerus caffer), European bison (Bison bonasus) and/or Asian Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). Despite the confusion the term buffalo stuck in America. According to The American Buffalo in Transition by J. Albert Rorabacher, in the seventeenth century, French explorers in North America referred to the new species they encountered as “les boeufs”, meaning oxen or beeves. The English, arriving later, changed the pronunciation to “la buff”. The name grew distorted as “buffle”, “buffler”, “buffillo”, and, eventually, “buffalo”.
How much does a baby bison weigh? At birth a bison calf normally weighs 40 to 50 pounds. Within a few hours of birth a calf is usually up, walking or running with their mothers.
How much does a bison weigh? A lot! A mature bison bull weighs approximately 2,000 to 2,500 pounds. A mature bison cow weighs approximately 1,100 to 1,500 pounds.
How fast can bison run? Faster than you! A bison can run up to 40 miles per hour.
Can I come pet a bison? We don’t recommend even trying. Bison are not domesticated animals. They should be treated with respect and caution. They can run faster than you can and weigh at least 10x more than you.
How bison are raised? At Red Cedar Bison we raise our bison as close to nature as possible. They roam freely with minimal interference. Our bison are grass-fed on the natural grasses of Middle Tennessee.
How many American Bison are in North America today? Approximately 500,000+ head.
Isn’t bison near extinction? In the 1890’s bison were near extinction, but today they are flourishing through careful breeding and nurturing. It is against the law to use growth hormones on bison. They remain non-genetically altered and are making a comeback thanks to ranchers.
Do bison moo? No. Bison do not moo. They grunt and roar.
Why does grass-fed matter? Our grass-fed bison are grazed on rich a green Tennessee pasture, which naturally gives them a healthy Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 4:1 or less. Whereas grain fed bison’s Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is much higher, making it the less healthy choice between grass-fed and grain-fed bison. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is only prevalent in bison that graze on fresh grass, not hay or grain fed bison.
Are Red Cedar Bison finished with grains? No. Red Cedar Bison does not believe in finishing with GMO grains. Red Cedar Bison are fully grass-fed and finished. Bison that are raised and finished on grass have a lower fat (1.7% versus 2.2%), lower monounsaturated fat (35.4% versus 46.5%) and lower calories (133 kcal versus 141 kcal). (Source: North Dakota State University, Nutritional Science and Dietetics) Grass-fed and finished bison has a healthy Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acid ration of 4:1 or less versus the unhealthy ratio of 20:1 of grain fed and finished bison.
Is it true that bison never get cancer? Yes. In fact bison are the only mammals that do not get cancer. Bison carry a cancer-preventative enzyme and researchers are now investigating the positive effects that Bison meat has on cancer prevention.
Is it true that bison meat is hypoallergenic? There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that bison meat is hypoallergenic. It is very uncommon to have an allergy to bison meat. The most up-to-date scientific information available indicates that an allergic reaction to mammalian meats can be triggered in people who have been bitten by a tick or a chigger. However Red Cedar Bison does serve many customers who are allergic to cow meat, but are not allergic to bison meat.
Why is Red Cedar Bison not organically certified? At Red Cedar Bison we are committed to providing better than organic meat. The process of getting USDA certified organic is not only costly, but a nightmare of paperwork. We prefer to spend our time giving our animals a better lifestyle than organic. Certified organic meat must be fed an organic diet, be 100% hormone free and 100% antibiotic free. Red Cedar Bison does all that plus our bison are 100% free roaming, 100% grass-fed, 100% pesticide free, and humanely harvested. We don’t waste time pushing paper, we go far beyond the requirements of organic to give you the healthiest bison meat available with our quality assurance.
Why should I eat bison? Bison meat is the new healthy red meat. It has been rediscovered due to the amazing nutritional value of bison meat.