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. The Bredthauers took a tour of the herd and talked to the people who took care of them. They were glad to recommend some resources to help them learn more about the animals. Over the next few months, the Bredthauer house began to accumulate such books as The Bison Breeders Handbook and “Bison World” (Available from Bison Central). 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 most profitable, 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 bison.
The literature assured them that the demand for bison far exceeded the supply, so this was sure to be a successful business. In addition to the meat, there was also a demand for the skulls, hides, and other by-products. It sounded like the ideal market to get into.
That same fall, there happened to be an ad in their local newspaper for 4 buffalo for sale about 20 miles from where they lived. In January of 1994, they purchased their first 4 buffalo – a 6 year old cow, a 3 year old bull, a yearling bull, and a heifer calf. That summer, the cow had a heifer calf of its own, and so their herd was growing.