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The Beginning

The Bredthauers suffered through the farm crisis of the early 1980’s, enduring high interest rates, falling commodity prices and storms that took their toll on livestock. In 1992 they moved to their present location 5 miles south of Broken Bow, NE on 320 acres of pasture, ready to make a new start. With Marty working an off-farm job they no longer depended on the farm to support their family but did hope to get some supplemental income from it.

A family vacation in 1993 to Fort Robinson, NE piqued their interest in buffalo. They took a tour of the herd and talked to the people who took care of them who were glad to recommend some resources to help them learn more about the animals. Over the next few months their house began to accumulate such books as The Bison Breeders Handbook and “Bison World.” (Available from https://bisoncentral.com/catalog/bison-books). These were read not only by Marty and Karen, but also by their sons Troy, who was 13 at the time, and Lance who was 10.

They decided that marketing the meat would be the most profitable way of marketing so they tried eating it several times to determine if they really liked it, and they did! They also read about all the health benefits of the meat.

The literature assured them that the demand for the meat far exceeded the supply so this was sure to be a profitable business. In addition to the meat there was also a demand for the skulls and hides and other by-products. It sounded like the ideal business to get into.

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First Buffalo

That same fall there happened to be an ad in their local for 4 buffalo for sale about 20 miles from where they lived. In January of 1994 they took home their first 4 buffalo – a 6 year old cow, 3 year old bull, a yearling bull and a heifer calf. That summer the cow had a heifer calf and so their herd was growing.

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Marketing

A year later their now 2 year old bull was ready to go to market. But, you don’t just take a buffalo to your local sale barn. Instead they took him to a packing plant that had recently started processing buffalo under USDA inspection. They wanted to keep some of the meat for themselves but they also planned to start selling some of it. Feeling industrious and pioneer-ish they also tried tanning the hide and cleaning and bleaching the skull themselves.

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Word got around that they would be selling buffalo meat and several people said they were interested in getting some. They decided to have an open house for people to come see the buffalo, taste some samples, and buy some meat. They ran a few ads on the local radio station and put some posters up around town. To their surprise they had nearly 300 people come and close to $1000 in meat sales. They thought they had struck a gold mine!

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However, they soon discovered that people were not flocking to their door to buy meat, so their next step was to come up with a way to sell the meat in other locations. Marty built a cart to put under a freezer so it could be easily loaded in and out of a stock trailer. They took this to several towns over the next few months. It worked, but it was not very convenient, loading and unloading the freezer all the time.

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The following year they purchased a utility trailer that would hold 3 freezers as well as their road signs and sales supplies. The back opened up to be their “store” and this trailer traveled around Nebraska for several years.

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In 2010 they upgraded again to a “log cabin” trailer/store which is much more convenient and comfortable, especially in the winter.

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Why Grassfed Bison?

  • It's good for the animals.
  • It's good for the farmers.
  • It's good for the environment.
  • It's good for the consumer.
  • Lower in fat (and calories)
  • Lower in cholesterol
  • Higher in vitamins A & E

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