Rowdy Mott utilizes lessons from the classroom to market his bison farmFirst generation bison farmer, Rowdy Mott, sees potential in the expanding market of natural, lean meat that is high in protein and low in fat.
Rowdy, a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in marketing said, “After graduation I noticed the growth in the organic food sector. People are looking for a healthier meat option that is lower in cholesterol, high in protein and has a lot of nutritional value. That’s when I decided to utilize this market.”
Two years ago with the help of his father, Randall Mott, Rowdy purchased 2,700 acres on the Arkansas and Missouri Stateline. Rowdy now makes his home on Bear Hollow Ranch and Preserve, an 800-acre farm located in Pineville, Mo.
The first priority for Rowdy and his employees, Brandon Knox, Bryon Copeland, Josh Mott and Blake Judy, was to build 8 foot fencing capable of keeping in bison, fallow deer, elk and red stag. To date, they have fenced and cross-fenced 500-acres which they use to rotate their herd of 120 bison, 40 elk, 40 fallow deer and 20 red stag.
Besides fencing, Rowdy works diligently to reclaim overgrown pastures and has reseeded many areas on the farm with Fescue and Ryegrass to maintain the pastures for his breeding stock.
When selecting the breeding stock for his bison heard Rowdy turns to Carol Klein, a long time bison farmer, for advice. “When selecting bison it is important to look for healthy, strong animals,” said Rowdy. He explained that records aren’t as readily available on bison as they are with beef cattle so selecting based on genetics is much more difficult.
Bison and other exotics for Bear Hollow Ranch are purchased around the state from exotics sales, including the sale in Macon, Mo., at Lolli Brother’s Livestock Market and from local exotic animal safaris. Rowdy will be taking trailers to the Lolli Brothers sale on December 6 to purchase more breeding stock for his farm.
Unlike beef cattle, bison are known to be more protective of their herd. “They have different personalities compared to cattle, you’ve got to respect them for that,” shared Rowdy. “There is a definite pecking order amongst buffalo. The more dominant animals tend to rough up the least dominant.”
Rowdy prepares his farm and herd as we head into winter. “I have about 300 bales for the winter but I don’t expect to use it all. A bison’s metabolism slows down during the winter so they consume less. Plus, they will use their heads to push snow around to get to the grass,” Rowdy reasoned.
Rowdy’s goal for Bear Hollow Ranch is to develop enough head of bison and other exotics so they can market to health food stores and to sell meat from the farm. His goal is to have somewhere between 300-500 head of momma cows in order to meet the demand for healthier meat.
Rowdy projects he will be able to market Bear Hollow Ranch meat in six months to a year from now.
“Originally, I purchased bison meat from Carol’s farm which further developed my interest in farming. Now she serves as a great mentor for my farm,” explained Rowdy.
“My advice to anyone interested in raising bison is find a mentor. Someone who can show you the ins and outs of the industry,” said Rowdy.
Rowdy is on the board of the Missouri Bison Association, which meets several times a year. “The Association is another great way to meet farmers who raise the same animals and who can offer advice,” concluded Rowdy.


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