Montana Bison News- March 2024

A newsletter from the Montana Bison Association

The Presidents Corner

Greetings Montana Bison Association members.

Well, it sure looks like spring is upon us, I hear the meadowlarks singing, the little bit of green tinge on the mountain side and pasture, the longer days and now the joyful anticipation of those little red dogs to soon appear. On January 5th and 6th, 2024 we held our winter MBA conference at Lolo Hot Springs and it was a great success! It was great to mingle with new bison producers as well as experienced producers as we can certainly learn a lot from each other. The board met prior to social hour and elected new board members.

The newly elected board members are as follows:

President: Terye Gaustad-Ring of Horns-Hot Springs, MT 406-515-9020 

Vice President: Michael Botha – Big Sky Bison – Vaughn, MT – 808.478.1479 –

Treasurer: Melandia Anakalea – Harlow Ranch – Thompson Falls, MT – 406.403.4501 –

Secretary: Susan Benton Meier – Benton Bison Ranch – Missoula, MT – 425-985-1002 –

Director: Ken Treadwell – Triple T Bison Ranch – Hamilton, MT – 408-591-8634 – 

Director: Don Woerner – Laurel, MT – 406-670-3030 – 

Please see new board member bios below- 

We would like to thank our outgoing board members Chris Bechtold whom served as our President, Craig Denny whom served as the Treasure, and Tobin Arnold whom served as Vice President for their dedication and incredible leadership they have given to the association! We all appreciate the time and hard work you put into the MBA and we hope to continue in your footsteps. We wish you all the best!!

Please feel free to reach out to anyone of us, we are here for you!

On Friday evening of the MBA Conference we started with our usual social hour catching up with old friends and meeting new friends and then had delicious bison burgers for dinner provided by the Ring of Horns and shortly after dinner we had several amazing speakers.

Mike Honeycutt from the Department of Livestock reminded us to complete the Bison Transportation Permit when crossing county lines, the website to fill out the form is on the Montana Department of Livestock http://Liv.mt.gov look for the Import-Transport tab and fill out the Bison Permit.

Dr. Tahnee Szymanski the newly appointed State Veterinarian was introduced, if you have any questions or need to contact her, she is on the http://liv.mt.gov as well.

Megan Cremer, Territory Manager- Big Timber, MT with Merck Animal Health gave an excellent presentation on Safeguard. Breaking the Parasite Life Cycle: It is best to deworm 6 weeks prior to pasture grazing and then 6 weeks after grazing has begun to break the cycle of new worms if you are feeding hay in the winter. Megan will also collect stool samples and send that off to a lab for analysis and will answer any questions that you have, her number is (406) 930-0333.

Christian Meny with Montana Audubon, Director of Conservation Ranching also spoke about the Audubon Bird-Friendly Certification and the requirements to become certified and can fund rancher infrastructure projects. Matt Skoglund is the first Montana Bison Ranch to become Audubon Certified, Congratulation!

More information is at the Audubon.org/ranching

Saturday morning, Mike Wilson, a Livestock Production Specialist from Purina Animal Nutrition gave an excellent presentation on Mineral and Energy deficiency. He is willing to come to your ranch, evaluate your bison and recommend mineral and supplements. Purina also has a Feeding Program Rebate, for more information, you can reach him at (406) 240-7343

Pedro Calderon Dominguez from American Prairie gave an excellent presentation about low stress bison handling and bison psychology and behavior. We are hoping to see and hear more from him during our summer conference.

Following dinner, Jim Matheson, Executive Director of the National Bison Association gave a great presentation about the bison market. November 2023 had the highest bull price in over 3 years indicating slow steady growth with bison processing up 5% over YTD of 2022. The NBA has new Promo Materials “Eat Bison To Restore Bison” and can be found on the NBA website bisoncentral.com

Our fun auction was a success, we raised approximately $900.00, a big thank you to all who donated items and left with some incredible items which raises funds to support the MBA!

Again, we want to thank all who attended the winter conference
Terye Gaustad- MBA President

Save the Date: Montana Bison Association Summer Conference, June 14-16, 2024 in Malta, MT

We are so excited to announce that the Pedro Calderon Dominguez from American Prairie in Malta, Montana has graciously offered to host the MBA Summer conference on their ranch. June 14th-16th 2024. We will be touring the White Rock Bison and Sun Prairie learning about the bison restoration program that they have implemented, herd social structure, low stress handling, fencing and grazing model as well as the bison wildlife habitat relationships. We are also excited to announce that Ken Klemm will be speaking on grassland monitoring and herd confirmation.

Agenda and lodging will be sent out shortly.

Upcoming Bison Events Around the Country

International Bison Health Symposium

A three day conference have international North American specialists on bison, combining commercial, conservation, and tribal interests for a robust response to bison health needs. This event will be the first in 10 years to bring together bison researchers, managers, producers, conservationists, and veterinarians in a collaborative forum to share ideas, research and forge future collaborations in the area of bison health in North America with emphasis on the context for modern bison farming/ranching and conservation, work currently underway, and future needs for bison health.

  • Date: June 30-July 2, 2024
  • Location: South Dakota State University Campus, Brookings, SD
  • Registration is not open yet- but will be available soon at www.bisoncentral.com/nba-conferences/
  • Hotel room blocks are secured for the event and will be published when registration opens.

Welcome to the MBA Board:

Melinda Anakalea

Melinda

Melinda Anakalea is from Thompson Falls, MT. She and her husband Adam raise buffalo on the Harlow Ranch which has been in her family since 1919. They started with 18 buffalo in 2020 and they are up to about 80 head this year. The main product for the ranch is selling meat direct to consumer through their website (harlowranch.com) and ranch store. They also sell heifer calves and yearlings. Harlow Ranch offers bison feeding tours and Harvest Host camping spots. The Anakaleas joined the MBA in 2020. Melinda has served on the board as a director for two years and this year she is the treasurer.

Don “Doc” Woerner, DVM

Don “Doc” Woerner, DVM

I was raised in Arvada, Colorado just north of Denver. Being outdoors and interacting with animals of all kinds has always been a top priority. Becoming a veterinarian seemed like the obvious thing to do. I attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins and graduated as a veterinarian in June of 1968.
It was in college where my wife, Bobbie and I met. She is a ranch girl from Cody, Wyoming. We married and have been together ever since, raising two wonderful sons along the way.

After working five years for a veterinarian in Billings, Montana, we started a family business in a semi-rural setting of the Yellowstone River valley near the town of Laurel, MT. Today we still own our business, and it is called Laurel East Animal Center. We provide services for livestock, companion animals, and wildlife. Expansion through the years has added boarding, grooming, training, a dog park, and day camp along with cremation services. Years ago, our eldest son took over management of our facility and he now does a much better job of it than I ever did.

Along the love of history and the earth sciences comes my favorite animal: the North American buffalo, our proud United States National Mammal. As of today, I have witnessed our earth make 80 revolutions around the sun and starting on # 81! My post-retirement career includes a new enterprise called the American Bison Resource and Education Center. This recent endeavor is housed in a separate office near ZooMontana. Associated with the Center is a “museum on wheels” called the Field Museum of the American Buffalo. I proudly work with bison of all kinds: commercial, conservation, and Tribal. Most of my “buffalo time” is recently spent with the Yellowstone National Park bison Quarantine, Conservation and Transfer Program.

Sincerely,
Doc Woerner

Susan
Susan Benton Meier, Benton Bison Ranch, Alta Montana

Susan Benton Meier

Little Fork Ranch was started back in 2007 by my father. In 2010 we started Benton Bison Ranch. Since then we have been raising 100% grass fed bison in the Bitterroot Valley. We have primarily been a breeding operation with selling our calves each year. We are now in the process of growing our operation to meat sales. We are family owned and operated and I am learning as much as I can. I love being part of the Montana Bison association. Over the years it has given me many new friends and an incredible wealth of knowledge as I navigate this industry.

I moved to Montana full-time in 2018 to take a more active role in the ranch. I have come to love everything about raising Bison. They are incredible animals and I feel privileged to raise them.

I am also part owner in a fishing lodge. We have been in business for 30 years in southeast Alaska. Tanaku Lodge has been my focus in the summer months as we are family owned and operated. I really enjoy the merging of my hospitality background with the ranching world.

I am excited for my new role as MBA secretary. I am looking forward to helping our association support its members new and old with engaging association meetings that help to inform and bring us together to support and learn from one another.

Triple T Bison, Bitterroot Valley, MT

Our Story

Just about 30 years ago, the Treadwells purchased 80 acres of the original 120-acre Rummel Ranch north west of Hamilton, centered in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley, and eventually had the opportunity and wherewithal to purchase an additional 32 acres of the original ranch which we now call the McKillop Ranch. The majority of the Ranch is open grassland grazing. For years, the Treadwells leased the 90 acres of grassland for cattle grazing in trade for fence maintenance.

Triple T Bison was founded by Ken Treadwell and two of his three sons, Kenny and Robby. We are first generation ranchers.

Over the years on trips to Missoula we would admire the Bitterroot Bison herd along side the highway, adjacent to the Bitterroot River. On one of the trips, we noticed a “Bison for Sale” sign on the gate. Kenny and Robby expressed interest and I was encouraged by them to inquire, coincidentally, I had recently retired to full time living at the McKillop Ranch. I guess the boys thought I needed more to do and why not graze our own livestock on our Ranch, as the bison are beautiful animals to see and watch their behavior. I also saw it as a business opportunity, and an opportunity to maintain the family connection and expand my relationship with Kenny and Robby.

In the winter of 2023, I reached out to Troy Westre of Bitterroot Bison and the rest is history. In March of 2023, Troy delivered 24 Bison, 1 Yearling Bull, 2 Bull calves, 4 Yearling Heifers, and 17 Heifer calves.

Upon Troy’s advice we soon joined the Montana Bison Association. Robby and I have attended our first two conferences, summer 2023 in Dillon and winter 2024 in Lolo. We immediately experienced both support and education from the Association, and plan to continue to attend all future conferences. (Not to mention that I was “roped” into volunteering to be an MBA Board Member!)

It is the intent of Triple T Bison to operate a sustainable, low-stress Bison Ranch offering quality grass-fed meat and quality bison products while humanely caring for our animals. We will grow our herd over the next several years to raise approximately forty calves per year.

Ken Treadwell
Triple T Bison
Owner, Ranch Manager

408.591.8634

Pan Seared Bison Image

Featured Bison Recipe from Bison Central

View and Print the Recipe from Bison Central Here

Pan Seared Bison Fillet

Served with roasted green chili potato puree and Maple Nut Brown Beer – mushroom demi glace baby spinach salad with Red Camper’s Deliciousness Colorado Whiskey – peach vinaigrette

Serves 2

Chef Patricia A. Belaire I Colorado Culinary Academy
Chef Mike Wills I Kitchen Table Cooking School
Served at a National Bison Association Annual Benefit Dinner

INGREDIENTS

SALAD

  • 2 C. Baby Spinach, dried and stored chilled
  • 2 oz. Goat cheese, crumbled -for Salad Topping
  • ½ oz. Walnuts, toasted, chopped -for Salad Topping

VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 oz. Red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 oz. Dijon mustard
  • ½ oz. Red Camper’s Deliciousness Colorado Whiskey – Peach jam
  • ¼tsp.Salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz. Oil

DIRECTIONS FOR SALAD

Emulsify vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and reserve.
Dress spinach with vinaigrette,
Adjust salt/pepper, plate and top with cheese and nuts.

INGREDIENTS-ROASTED GREEN CHILI POTATO PUREE MAPLE NUT BROWN BEER – MUSHROOM DEMI GLACE

  • 1 lb. Baking potatoes, medium starch and mealy like Idaho
  • ¾ C. Cream or milk, hot
  • 2 oz. Butter (cut into½ inch cubes left a room temp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz. Roasted Anaheim chilies or Poblano or a blend, small diced

ROUX

  • 1 oz. Flour
  • 1 oz. Butter

2 ea. 8-0z Bison fillet

INGREDIENTS-MAPLE NUT BROWN BEER – MUSHROOM DEMI GLACE

  • 1 oz. Olive oil
  • 1 oz. Unsalted butter
  • 1 ea. Shallot, diced (or onion)
  • 2 ea. Garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ lb. Cremimi mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ C. Tommy Knockers Maple Nut Brown Ale1 C. Beef stock, or more if needed
  • 1 Tbsp. Heavy cream or cold butter chunks
  • Salt and pepper, as needed

DIRECTIONS-ROASTED GREEN CHILI POTATO PUREE

Peel and cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Place in a pot of cold water. Bring water and potatoes to a boil then add salt. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender.
Drain the potatoes then place on a sheet pan and dry them in a 3502 oven for a few minutes. Puree in a food mill or ricer; then pass through a tamis for a super fine puree.
Flavor with hot cream or milk, room temperature butter, and roasted chilies. Season with salt and pepper.

DIRECTIONS-ROUX

Combine flour and butter in a pan. Melt. Cook to blonde.

DIRECTIONS-BISON FILLETS AND DEMI GLACE

Season both sides of bison fillets with salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Once hot, add the bison and sear until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan – Finish cooking in oven to 130° F internal temp.

Reduce the heat of the pan to medium and add the butter, Once melted add the shallots and the garlic and saute until translucent then add the mushrooms and saute the until the liquid is evapo­rated and the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the beer by adding it to the pan while scraping up the browned bits. Reduce the beer by half then add the beef stock to the pan and simmer on low.

Add ½ of the roux and bring sauce to a boil. Finish with cream or cold butter. Adjust seasoning.

Do you have a favorite bison recipe to share?  Please send it to and we’ll share it with the members!  

Hausman Buffalo Ranch BC

Would you like to see your business card here? 
If so, please email it to and we’ll include it in the next newsletter.  

People seeking bison products:

Western Heritage Meat Company

Hello,
My name is Taylor Kerns. I own Western Heritage Meat Company in Sheridan. We are a USDA inspected meat processing plant that focuses on farm-to-table producers. Not only do we offer basic processing, but we also offer a wide range of smokehouse products, long-term freezer storage, and a shipping room with boxes, insulation, dry ice, and 75% FedEx shipping rates. We would love the opportunity to talk with you about how we could service your business and help you grow. Please call us at 307-381-2263 or email us at to learn more about how we can help you succeed.

Kalispell business looking for bison horns:

Rachel Millar is working on a project making Viking style cups out of buffalo horn. She would like to purchase as many horns as possible here in Montana, but even if you just have one or two she would like to buy them. You can contact her at 406-609-8148 or

Grass Finished Organ Meat and Jerky Meat buyer:

Hello! My name is Laynee and I work for The Better Jerky LLC. We are a new business and still in the phase of finding sources for our products. Our team is in Austin TX and the manufacturing is in Montana. We have a small team of people with holistic backgrounds and lifestyles that came together to show people the importance of eating organ meats on a regular basis and how delicious it really is! We are looking to source organ meats and trim from all animals.

With bison, we are currently wanting several thousand pounds of heart, liver, and trim monthly.

We honor and know how important it is to have pasture raised animals eating their natural diet free of GMO, soy, and corn. Our claims we are adhering to are grass fed, grass finished, no grass pellets, pasture raised bison.

Please contact me if you would be able to help us out!

Thank you,
Laynee Takigawa
Chief Product Manager
The Better Jerky LLC

Text/Call: (916) 899-7496

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