DENVER — With Bison Meat becoming increasingly popular among consumers and bison ranching attracting new participants, the nearly 500 ranchers convening at Denver’s Renaissance Hotel for the National Bison Association’s 25th anniversary convention last week spent three days celebrating the organization’s accomplishments while planning for continued growth in the years ahead.
Speakers at the conference included Food Network Executive Chef Rob Bleifer, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Greg Ibach, and consumer market trends analysis Laurie Demeritt of the Hartman Group.
Demeritt and Bleifer both provided the association’s conference attendees with insights into how bison can benefit from emerging consumer dining habits and culinary trends. Ibach reviewed USDA’s commitment to expand market opportunities for bison, and to partner with the association to improve transparency.
Members attending the National Bison Association convention also elected a new slate of officers to guide the organization in the coming years.
- Donnis Baggett of Bryan, TX, was elected as the association’s new president for the coming year. Baggett and his wife, Beverly Brown, own and operate Lucky B Bison Ranch near Bryan. He replaces Dick Gehring of Moundridge, KS, who will serve as Immediate Past President under the association’s term-limit policy.
- Alan Douglas of Atherton, CA was elected vice president. Douglas’s bison ranching operation is in eastern Oregon.
- Joe Graham of Marlow, OK was elected as Secretary Treasurer.
- Chad Kremer of Custer South Dakota was elected as the association’s new Director at Large. Kremer serves as the bison herd manager for Custer State Park. He and his wife, Suzi, also own and operate Kremer Buffalo, L.L.C. near Keystone, SD.
The association’s assistant director, Jim Matheson, was honored for his 15 years of service to the organization during a special ceremony during the January 22 dinner at the convention. In the ceremony honoring his accomplishments, Matheson was described as “integral to the growth and success of the National Bison Association.”
“He is passionate about the animal, and dedicated to do everything he can to make sure that the National Bison Association best serves its members,” said NBA executive director Dave Carter. “It’s difficult to imagine where our organization would be without his commitment.”
The National Bison Association represents nearly 1,200 ranchers, marketers and bison enthusiasts in 48 states and 10 foreign countries. Information on the association can be found at www.bisoncentral.com.
— National Bison Association
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