Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roundup in Denver

January 19th - there is still time to register.  Ed Tuccio and Dee Muma will probably be there for the 16th annual NBA Winter Conference at the Denver Renaissance Hotel.  That's the National Bison Association whose mission is to bring together stakeholders to create a sustainable future for the bison industry.   Tuccio and Muma will fly in from their ranch where they manage a herd of 300 bison.  He will miss his local Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Party which is scheduled for the same weekend in Riverhead, Long Island, New York.  Tuccio runs a successful business in Riverhead, Tweed's Restaurant and Buffalo Bar which he supplies with his own locally raised bison.

Defenders of Wildlife might be there too.  Their mission: save imperiled wildlife.  Their Bison Fact Sheet urges me to "Adopt to Save a Bison".

How to make sense of the status of bison?  The facts are well known.  From their historical population level of 20 - 30 million, bison were hunted to the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century.  They regained a foothold in the 20th century, first on public lands in conservation programs.  Their numbers began to increase when private ranchers entered production and restaurants put bison on the menu.  Consumers became partners in restoring North American herds.

The economics are compelling.  If Defenders are right and the conservation solution for "wild animals" must be financed by "adoptions", one animal at a time, I predict only modest success.  The marketplace has scale on its side.  Bison as livestock stand a good chance of sustainable survival.  Should be a good conversation around the dinner table.

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