Agriculture and Food Processing - Commodities: Livestock

Bison


About the Industry | Finishing | Bison Meat | Products | Contacts

photo of bison herdHistory & Importance

Two hundred years ago the sight of tens of thousands of bison rumbling across the Manitoba prairie would have been a sight to behold.

During that time, Native North Americans utilized the bison as everything from a source of food, shelter and clothing, to medicines, tools and weapons.

Yet there was much more to the relation between the Native North American and the bison than the material considerations, the bison was a religious object of worship.

Today, while the numbers of bison are greatly reduced from the early 1800s and they can no longer range over thousands of miles of prairie, the sight of the majestic bison grazing on a lush Manitoba pasture is still a wonder to behold.

The bison has become a majestic symbol of Manitoba's pioneering spirit and is the official symbol of Manitoba's provincial government.

About the Industry

Bison, which are indigenous to Manitoba, have been produced commercially in Manitoba for many years.

Manitoba is currently home to the third largest bison herd in the country, representing approximately 10% of the national bison production.

The Manitoba bison industry has experienced tremendous growth throughout the past decade.

The herd has been expanding by an average of 19 percent annually since 1997.

Today there are greater than 13,400 bison in Manitoba distributed across 180 farming operations.

It is Manitoba's unique climate, the abundance of pastureland, the heartiness of the bison and the increasing demand for bison meat that have all contributed to this recent growth and success of the bison industry in Manitoba.

photo of bisonFinishing Industry

Manitoba currently finishes approximately 2000 feeder bulls annually.

The majority of these bulls are raised locally in Manitoba, with a small percentage being imported from the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The bulls are finished on a high-quality, locally grown roughage/grain ration.

Many of the finished bulls are then exported to the North American Bison Co-operative processing plant in North Dakota for slaughter and processing.

Each year, a few bison are slaughtered and processed in Manitoba's provincially inspected processing facilities, which then distribute the meat to local consumers.

Many Manitoba restaurants and select meat stores offer bison as an alternative because of its great taste and health benefits.

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Bison Meat

The Manitoba bison industry is intensely focused on producing top quality meat products.

The meat is available in various forms including steaks, roasts, and ground meat.

A variety of different processed products such as wieners, sausage and jerky have also been made available.

Health conscious consumers are attracted to bison meat as it is tender and classified as a 'dense nutritional meat' that is low in fat, calories and cholesterol.

close-up of bisonLeather Products

Another importan part of the bison industry is the marketing and sale of the bison hide.

The hide can be tanned and the leather used for anything from boots and gloves to clothing and furniture.

Bison leather has a unique, natural grain character and it is valued for its long-lasting durability.

The Manitoba bison industry is a rapidly expanding industry and the province is gaining recognition for a high quality herd, a quality supply of forage/feed and its central location served by road, rail and air.


Contact: Address: Other Links:

Mila Ruiz Turiaf
Mila.RuizTuriaf@gov.mb.ca

Send a Message or
E-mail: mbtrade@gov.mb.ca

Tel:  204-945-2466
Fax: 204-957-1763
Toll free in Canada and the U.S.
1-800-529-9981

Manitoba Trade & Investment
1100 - 259 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada R3B 3P4

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