Kneehill County is proud to highlight the Agripreneurs and Businesses that make our community great.
Prior to 1996, Bernice and Perry Eitzen rented out their quarter section of farmland located east of Acme. When they felt they were underutilizing the property and started to research what could be raised on the land, beef of course was everyone’s initial suggestion; however, it was something bigger (much bigger) that caught their attention. On the recommendation of a neighbour, they decided to take a closer look at bison, and what they learned appealed to their busy lifestyle. By the end of that year, they had started to grow the Tumbleweed Bison herd.
Raising bison is not for the faint of heart. Special handling systems, corrals, pens, and fencing are required for these not so gentle giants. Bison have retained their “wild” nature unlike domestic cattle, and they can be aggressive and unpredictable. With neither Perry nor Bernice having any previous agriculture experience, Perry did a ton of research to determine what infrastructure was required to raise and care for these animals. By visiting other ranches and talking to experienced handlers he developed a system that would keep the animals and themselves safe. Trial and error were part of the routine. Where one bison goes, they all go, and unlike when working with cattle, you cannot sort in the field, and you cannot enter the chutes. All the sorting is done in the corrals from raised platforms utilizing an intricate system of pulleys and gates to separate the animals.
Though their handling is complex, there is a benefit to raising these majestic beasts. The Canadian Bison Association notes that raising bison is a highly sustainable form of agricultural production, requiring fewer inputs than nearly any other form of agriculture. Further, the health benefits of bison meat have developed a growing and more economically sustainable market for ranchers.
While Perry handles the animal care, Bernice is the hostess with the mostess. You can book a farm tour of Tumbleweed Bison and Bernice will enthusiastically introduce you to animals, show you how the handling system works and explain the health benefits of bison meat. Foodies rejoice… not only are you able to pick up bison meat onsite, but Bernice will also happily discuss the best cooking and smoking methods with you to ensure you get the most out of your purchase. For her “it is all about loving food” and this lean, hormone, and antibiotic-free bison “is the most flavorful red meat available to today's consumer.”
Government inspected bison can be purchased from the ranch by the whole, half, or pre-packaged. Check out the website for a full list of products and pricing, tour information, and to see a selection of their bleached bison skulls and other accessories.
Contact Tumbleweed Bison today to discover for yourself why bison meat is becoming a leading culinary trend across North America.
Facebook: Tumbleweed Bison