By Carol Klein

Spring is my favorite time of year as the world turns green again and flower are

blooming everywhere. But the best thing about spring here on the buffalo ranch

is all the adorable pumpkin colored calves born into the herd. With a rutting

season in late summer and a nine month gestation period, calving season is

perfectly timed to the spring green-up. Calves are smaller when born due to late

winter limitations on feed making calving easier on the bison cows, a good thing

as pulling calves is not an option.

The buffalo herd does not see the need for any kind of help and are pretty self

sufficient. As long as they have grass, water and a herd for company they are

contented behind what we like to call a “happy fence.”

If they are not happy, trying to fencing them in would be futile. We like to keep the bison very happy

and are glad they are so easy to please. Of course if that happy fence goes

down or a gate is left open, they will have a good time roaming.

When it is necessary to work the herd in a handling system, to worm them or

otherwise “doctor” the herd or separate animals, the wild nature and strength are

really impressive to see. It is a powerful reminder to bison producers to always

stay safe and not take for granted their undomesticated herd.

Raising buffalo offers both challenges and opportunities but the best part is

simply sharing your life with these very special animals. To learn what is

involved in raising bison, other producers can share information about what

worked – or did not work – for them to provide us with insights to improve our

own operations.

The Missouri Bison Association is hosting a conference to introduce people to

bison and to network with other producers to learn from each other. We want to

invite everyone who has considered raising bison to come learn about buffalo

and meet the folks who raise them. And the programs will also help existing

bison owners to improve their operations and herds.

On June 4, 5 and 6, the conference will be centered at Downstream Resort, four

miles west of Joplin, where Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma meet, with Arkansas

just a hop skip and jump away.

On June 4, our program will kick off with Beginning Bison 101 for

those starting to learn about bison. The afternoon program will feature Bison

Behavior: Thinking Like a Buffalo, Agritourism opportunities to add income to

the bison farm, Healthy Bison by Veterinarian Gerald Parsons, an update

at the national level by the National Bison Association, and finally a producers

forum to answer questions and share information by experienced producers.

An evening meet and greet social will allow convention attendees the

opportunity to make friends and have a great time visiting. An informal workshop

on building websites will also be available at that time for anyone who might be


June 5 will be a bus tour to visit three buffalo farms so we can see how

those folks fence and work their bison and we can check out their herds. We’ll

have lunch at the historical Hulston Mill Park. Our final stop of the day will be at

a USDA processing facility in Golden City for a tour and demonstration.

June 6th will take us on the bus again, this time to Bear Hollow Bison

in eastern McDonald County where we will see herds of bison, elk and deer.

We’ll work a few bison through the handling facilities and check out equipment

and have lunch. Then a short visit to my farm to check out more fences and

creep grazing. The last stop will be a visit to a cutting horse farm to see how

bison are used to train horses.

You are invited to join us for this conference and can register online at or by calling 417 226-4540 to have a brochure mailed to

you. Total cost for registering is $90 and includes both bus tours and food while

away from the conference center. Calving season is well under way, so expect

to see lots of these adorable orange buffalo calves on your visit.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here