Bison: America's Original Plant-Based ProteinMon, 03 Jan 2022 14:16:12 CST
Beef may be what is for dinner, but bison is America’s original plant-based protein. That is right, long before Europeans landed on the shores of North America with cattle and horses, bison darkened the Great Plains.
As the rangeland is the natural home to bison, making them hardy and accustomed, a small group of ranchers is keen on producing bison. Recently, KC Sheperd, director for the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, spoke with Donnis Baggett, president of the National Bison Association. He said while bison is like beef, there are some big differences.
“It is a heart-healthy, delicious source of protein and has been here for millennia,” Baggett said. “(Bison) are also stewards of the Great Plains of the United States.”
Baggett said he and his colleagues are privileged to now be stewards of the bison. As consumers expand their pallets, bison byproducts have become more popular, often found in pet foods, he added.
“Bison is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than almost any other protein, yet higher in omega-3 fatty acids, iron and protein,” Baggett said. “We have done a lot of work to develop a market for the byproducts because it is ridiculous to bury them in a landfill.”
Along with the nutritive difference between bison and beef, bison are not domesticated therefore must be handled slower and gentler than cattle, Baggett said.
“If you handle them right and do not chase them around with horses and four-wheelers, they become acclimated to their surroundings,” Baggett said. “When the time comes to work them, we draw them in with feed rather than run them in with horses.”
To learn more about the National Bison Association, click or tap here.
Hit the LISTEN BAR to hear KC Sheperd and Donnis Baggett talk about producing bison in the 21st century.
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