Bison Producers To Gather in Big Sky, Mont.

Bison Producers To Gather in Big Sky, Mont.

Summer Conference will include tour of Ted Turner's ranch near Bozeman.

North Dakota and South Dakota bison producers will be taking in the National Bison Association summer conference in Big Sky, Mont.

South Dakota is the No. 1 bison producer in the U.S. North Dakota is No. 3.

Participants at the association's annual summer meeting June 16-19 will tour Yellowstone National Park to meet with the Park's bison superintendent, travel to Ted Turner's scenic Flying D Ranch to learn about their ecologically-friendly bison management practices, and will hold a series of discussions at the Big Sky Resort addressing a wide array of topics affecting today's bison industry. On Sunday, June 19, the association is sponsoring special Bison 101 seminar targeted to new and expanding buffalo ranchers, sponsored by the USDA Risk Management Agency.

"Montana is central to many issues and events affecting the buffalo business across the country," said NBA President John Flocchini. "We're pleased that we are pulling together an extremely diverse group of speakers and topics that touch upon the complex issues in our industry."

On Thursday, June 16th conference participants will travel by bus to tour Yellowstone National Park, and to meet with Rick Wallen, the chief ecologist for Yellowstone National Park. Wallen will review with the group the Park's bison management philosophy, including the ongoing efforts to address Brucellosis within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

On Friday, conference attendees will hear from the leader of the Intertribal Bison Council (ITBC), a panel of national bison conservation officials, and from scientists who have embarked on the process of mapping the bison genome. Jim Stone, executive director of the ITBC will visit with the conference about the concerns of tribal interests in bison management, and public policy issues.

Dave Hunter, chief veterinarian for Turner Enterprises, Inc., along with Dr. Steven Olsen of USDA Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa will provide a presentation during Friday's meeting at the Big Sky Resort on the current work being conducted to map the bison genome. Also, representatives of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the National Park System, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will discuss conservation challenges for today's bison as well as the public/private collaboration that is helping to restore bison to the American landscape and diet.

On Saturday, the conference venue will shift to the scenic Flying D Ranch south of Bozeman. The Flying D ranch is significant to the modern bison business as the first ranch Ted Turner started raising bison.

Registration for the conference is available on the NBA's website, www.bisoncentral.com. The registration fee for Friday's meetings and the Saturday Ranch Day at Flying D is $175 for NBA members. The association is offering a special "Join 'n Go" rate for non members. The deadline to register is June 1.

Source: National Bison Association

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