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Sales of bison meat like this sirloin steak have risen in recent years, as more consumers look for red meat that is lower in fat and cholesterol than most beef. Larry Crowe / AP Bison ranchers from across the U.S. are gathering in Denver this week to figure out how to recruit more people into the bison business and ratchet up the meat supply. That's because a shortage of bison is pushing prices to a near-record high. Bison meat is averaging $7 per pound — an increase of $2 from a year ago. And so far, consumers don't mind paying extra for the meat.
Bison can be stocked at about the same rate as cattle, even at slightly higher rates, because they are more efficient grazers. Bison spread out more evenly over pasture than cattle and can survive on marginal range that would starve cattle, though in the interest of producing the finest product, this is not recommended. Bison are happiest in large spaces. In the wild, bison move about two miles per day to graze. (One square miles is 640 acres.) On a smaller acreage, bison can be kept happy through pasture rotation.
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