- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: grazing - continuous, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational
- Education and Training: extension
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic
Introduction A historically significant and recently commercialized livestock species is one of the bright spots in Northern Plains agriculture. Visionary producers see bison as a sustainable enterprise adapted to the eco-region with significant market potential of providing bison meat to health-conscious consumers. North and South Dakota producers are among the nation’s leaders in the development of the commercial bison industry. The native peoples from this area have a culture that is spiritually intertwined with bison. As the industry grows and native tribes seek to reestablish their traditional cultural ties, the desire for information and education regarding bison management is rapidly growing. Informational resource materials, adult education curriculums, college courses, and vocational agriculture curriculum materials all need to be developed to meet the burgeoning demand for bison information. Research is also lacking in several areas of bison production. This project seeks to meet some of the needs of bison producers and people interested in developing a bison enterprise. There is no formal educational program at any university dedicated to supporting producers involved in commercial production. The development of an educational program for Extension agents, tribal college instructors, NRCS personnel, and others is proposed to meet the critical educational voids now existing. This project also seeks to draw together the various entities of university and tribal college departments involved in bison education and research to collaborate in the educational events. By developing the informational materials and workshops to train these educators in bison topics, the needs expressed by the North Dakota Bison Association will begin to be met. The outcomes and impacts of this training will be educators who will be equipped to educate, inform, and advise producers and the public regarding bison history, culture, production, management, marketing, and nutritional advantages. These educators will be comfortable discussing this livestock species and will willingly work with producers to access information. They will relay producer concerns to researchers who will be better able to respond to these needs. Evaluation instruments and measures will gauge the short-term awareness of bison management and production and the intermediate behavior changes of using the resources and training with producers in their multi-county areas. Agent plans of work and other educator planning documents will also indicate long term and intermediate term goals of delivery of educational programs, involvement with producer groups, and activity with persons involved in the bison industry. Accomplishments Video Content The instructors for the video presentations are: Judi Wood—Lower Brule Community College: “History of the Public Bison Herds Following the 1800’s Bottleneck” Tom Frederick—Sinte Gleske University: “Culture and Spiritual Relevance of Bison to the Lakota” Trudy Ecoffey—Oglala Lakota College: “Range Management and Grazing Behavior of Bison” & “History and Evolution of Bison” Dave Wynia, DVM—Sisseton Wahpeton College: “Bison Herd Health” Marty Marchello, PhD—NDSU: “Nutrient Composition of Bison Meat” Vern Anderson, PhD—NDSU: “Bison Nutritional Requirements”* Steve Metzger—Farm Business Management: “Budget Considerations for Bison Production”* Temple Grandin, PhD—Colorado State University: “Low Stress Handling of Cattle” with suggestions for bison *Due to conflicts, these presenters could not appear. Their presentations were delivered by Tom Hanson, SARE Coordinator-ND. Publications/Outreach Video Content The instructors for the video presentations are: Judi Wood—Lower Brule Community College: “History of the Public Bison Herds Following the 1800’s Bottleneck” Tom Frederick—Sinte Gleske University: “Culture and Spiritual Relevance of Bison to the Lakota” Trudy Ecoffey—Oglala Lakota College: “Range Management and Grazing Behavior of Bison” & “History and Evolution of Bison” Dave Wynia, DVM—Sisseton Wahpeton College: “Bison Herd Health” Marty Marchello, PhD—NDSU: “Nutrient Composition of Bison Meat” Vern Anderson, PhD—NDSU: “Bison Nutritional Requirements”* Steve Metzger—Farm Business Management: “Budget Considerations for Bison Production”* Temple Grandin, PhD—Colorado State University: “Low Stress Handling of Cattle” with suggestions for bison *Due to conflicts, these presenters could not appear. Their presentations were delivered by Tom Hanson, SARE Coordinator-ND. Accompanying the video is a resource website which functions as a clearinghouse for bison information. This website is found at: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/bison Bison researchers and instructors Methods The educational events planned in conjunction with this project include three workshops in each state on bison management. These sessions will focus on the economics of bison production, grazing behavior, reproduction, history, native culture, nutritional aspects of bison meat, ecosystem interactions, marketing, and general production strategies. Tours of bison ranches and tribal herds will augment the classroom session where possible and case studies of selected bison operations will be developed and included in the trainings. Resource materials relating to the topics will be provided. These activities will accomplish the outcomes listed for the project by giving participants all the tools needed to interact, discuss, and educate potential bison producers and established producers in bison production. The resources provided in the training will also allow participants to access information sources throughout the U.S. and Canada. The curriculums and resources provided through the project will provide visual aids and information necessary to conduct educational workshops and programs on the various aspects of bison production and history. The two-way interaction with potential and existing bison producers will provide feedback to the research community for needed bison research. Over time, the activities conducted by those working with bison producers will create educators and advisors who will be fluent in bison management topics and will dispense information on this species as easily as domestic species of livestock. At this point, educators will have adapted to meet this critical need and be recognized nationally for their expertise in this area of sustainable animal agriculture.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project originally was to have held three one to two day educational sessions in each state of North and South Dakota. It became apparent early on that the only active bison education curriculums resided with the 1994 Land Grant Institutions in both Dakotas with more emphasis given in the South Dakota tribal colleges. The instructors in these curriculums enthusiastically agreed to participate as instructors in the educational workshops. However, when the time came to schedule the workshops, the insurmountable difficulty of these teaching faculty to schedule the time needed to deliver the workshops across both states (approximately two weeks). The instructors requested that the presentations be done in a video format that could be used with multiple audiences and in multiple teaching situations as stand alone curriculums or to augment existing curriculums and workshops, short courses, etc. Approval was sought and granted by the North Central Region SARE staff to modify the grant in this way, which actually enhanced the projects usefulness and adaptability.