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Why Grassfed Bison & FAQ

Why Grass-fed Bison?

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The advantages of raising bison or any other type of livestock on grass alone can be summarized in 4 statements:

  • It’s good for the animals.
  • It’s good for the farmers.
  • It’s good for the environment.
  • It’s good for the consumer.

Focusing on the last one, the health benefits of meat and other animal products (including eggs) include:

  • Lower in fat (and calories)
  • Lower in cholesterol
  • Higher in the good kinds of fat (Omega 3, CLA, and other beneficial fatty acids)
  • Higher in vitamins A & E

You can even see some of these differences in the dark red meat (because fat is not marbled in), the yellow fat, and the bright orange egg yolks from the added vitamins from green grass.
However, the past decades of increasingly refined and “sterilized” manufactured food products have led us to believe white (flour, sugar, fat, oils, etc) are somehow purer and therefore more to be desired. The livestock feeding industry has convinced us that meat must be marbled with fat to be tender. And our palates have become accustomed to the rather bland flavor of animals fed a standardized ration.

Nutritional Content and Important Links: (from bisoncentral.com)

nutrition

 

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Nutrient Amt./100 grams % RDV
Iron 2.8 mg 16%
Magnesium 26 mg 6%
Phosphorus 190 mg 19%
Zinc 3.8 mg 25%
Potassium 330 mg No RDV
Sodium 48 mg <4 %
Selenium 105 ug No RDV
Niacin 1.01 mg 10%
Vitamin B6 .24 mg 12%
Vitamin B12 2.54 ug 43%

For more complete nutritional information, see “Bison: A ‘Healthy’ Red Meat” at bisoncentral.com.

What Others Say:

Grassfed bison — the original “Happy Meal?”

Martin Marchello at the Carrington Research Extension Center has found that grassfed bison have as much as four times more selenium (an essential trace mineral) than grainfed bison. Eating just three ounces of grassfed bison, for example, can give you over 100 mcg. of selenium, which is several times the daily minimum requirement.

Most of the selenium research has focused on its potential to reduce the risk of cancer, but a 1990 study found that selenium also promotes a sunnier disposition! In this study, volunteers were given either 100 micrograms of selenium or a sugar pill. Those who were given the selenium noticed an improved mood in just two weeks. Eating a small portion of grassfed bison on a daily basis should produce the same results.

(Benton, D. and R. Cook (1990). “Selenium supplementation improves mood in a double-blind crossover trial.” Psychopharmacology 102(4): 549-50.)

Additional nutrition information and recipes may be found at the following websites:

http://products.mercola.com/produce/grass-fed-bison/

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/lamb-veal-and-game-products/10628/2

http://bisoncentral.com/cooking-bison/nutrition-information

http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

Links and resources

»Nebraska Food and Meat Directory

»Nebraska Edge Business Program Winners

»Story by UNL Center for Rural Innovation

»Eatwild.com

 

Is this 100% grass-fed?

Yes, our bison spend their entire lives in the pasture eating only natural grasses.  In the winter or if the grass is depleted by drought they are fed grass hay.  They have free access to salt and natural mineral.  They are never fed grains, which means they do not receive any genetically engineered products.  For more on the benefits of grass-fed meats, see Eat Wild.

Do you give any vaccinations, hormones, antibiotics or other medications?

No, our bison are never given any medications.  We put apple cider vinegar into their water supply at certain times of the year which seems to take care of internal and external parasites such as flies and worms.  We have also seen them recover from swollen hooves and other apparent infections without any other treatment.

How are the animals harvested (i.e. slaughtered)?

The bison are field-slaughtered which means they are shot and bled in the pasture.  They are then taken a short distance to a mobile meat processing trailer furnished by the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project.  After the meat is hung and chilled it is transported to Custom Pack in Hastings, NE where it is cut and wrapped.  Because the animals have not been stressed prior to slaughter it is not necessary to let the meat “hang” to tenderize it.

Is this meat USDA inspected?

No.  Because it is classed as a “wild” meat, USDA inspection is not required.  The processing trailer and Custom Pack both meet HACCP requirements. (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system, is a process control system that identifies where hazards might occur in the food production process and puts into place stringent actions to take to prevent the hazards from occurring.)  USDA inspection would only add to the cost of the meat.

How long will the meat stay good in the freezer?

As long as the packages are not damaged or thawed and refrozen, the meat will usually stay good for at least 2 years.  Once the meat is thawed, it should be cooked rather than refrozen.  If the frozen meat looks dried out on the surface, that is what is called freezer-burn.  It will not harm the meat but you may want to trim that part out.

Does the meat contain any soy, corn, gluten, GMO’s, MSG, nitrites?

The animals are fed no grains (soy, corn, wheat, or GMO feeds).  The processed meats ( summer sausage, & hot dogs) are required to have a preservative added; we have used celery and/or beet powder as a preservative.   These have naturally-occurring nitrites but are not considered “curing” products, thus they are classed as “uncured”.  The brats are uncured and uncooked so they are not required to have any type of nitrite added. We have 2 types of jerky, one with sodium nitrite as a preservative and one that is dried down sufficiently to not require any preservative.   None our our products contain gluten or MSG.

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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