Bison industry leaders ask USDA to be included in agriculture aid


On April 16, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring wrote another letter to Perdue with specific policy recommendations to both commercial and tribal bison producers.

“The bison industry will likely experience the lingering effects of the current market situation for another two years. The drop in the carcass price for bison has declined rapidly since the pandemic and producers and plants are struggling,” Goehring wrote. “Therefore, we are proposing a market facilitation payment based on the herd inventory on February 21, 2020 and reflecting the drop in the market value of bison.”

On March 27, the National Bison Association had previously sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue asking that bison producers be included in the $9.5 billion livestock assistance program under the CARES ACT and Perdue said he would look into it.

The National Bison Association began an in-depth analysis on the coronavirus impact on bison producers because, according to its executive director Dave Carer, the USDA does not maintain extensive industry data on bison, we felt it important to provide an analysis that could be utilized as the basis for policymaking.

The analysis found severe disruption because high-end bison steaks are primarily sold to restaurants. The report also noted increased costs from processors as an issue, but pointed out demand for low-priced ground bison was up.

“Just as bison stick together when adversity threatens the herd, the community of bison producers at the national, state and tribal level worked together to develop sound, constructive proposals,” Carter said. “We thank Commissioner Goehring for helping us carry those proposals to Secretary Perdue.”