Raising buffalo as nature intended is as regenerative as it gets. As Dan states, “We were practicing regenerative agriculture before it was cool”. This ancient, symbiotic regenerative practice between the buffalo and the land has been going on for over 170,000 years. The American Buffalo (bison) are the native prairie herbivores and the keystone species of the Northern Great Plains. They are the gardeners of the grasslands, grazing as they roam across the prairies, nurturing the soil as the healthy vegetation nurtures them.
Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming and grazing practices that increases overall biodiversity, enhances ecosystems, enriches the soils’ organic matter rebuilding degraded soil biodiversity, improves watersheds, and sequesters atmospheric carbon into the soil. These practices not only reverse global warming but they also produce healthy, sustainable foods to nurture our bodies.
Here’s the how and why of our regenerative practices and standards.
100% LARGE LANDSCAPE GRAZING
At Wild Idea Buffalo Company, we believe in allowing our buffalo (bison) to be and behave like real buffalo roaming and grazing the prairie grasslands much like they did hundreds of years ago. On average, a bison roams between two and five miles per day. Our prairie pastures range between 500 and 24,000 acres each, giving these natural roamers room to roam. This also helps to keep our prairies intact, providing an ecosystem that promotes species diversity, and keeps carbon stored safely underground.
PESTICIDE & HERBICIDE FREE
Wild Idea’s buffalo graze on thousands and thousands of acres of prairie grassland pastures, where everything is given an equal opportunity to not only survive, but thrive. We do not use sprays to control insects or weeds, which would greatly degrade the soil’s microbial matter and affect our water supply. We welcome the bugs, beetles, insects, varmints and deal with invasive weeds using regenerative practices. Our prairies and environment cannot be healthy with our earth soaked in chemicals.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are seeds that have been altered to withstand the spraying of herbicides and pesticides, killing all things except for the GMO corn or grain. GMO drought resistant seeds are also making their way to the market, which will greatly increase the threat of the prairie plow up. Rest assured – our animals graze on non-GMO grassland prairies, and are NEVER subjected to unnatural feeds such as GMO grains or GMO corn.
To restore degraded prairie lands and to control invasive species, we use a series of regenerative practices, which include; applying buffalo compost to the abused land, planting biological primers using a no-till drill method, and intensive grazing. These steps build up surface organic matter, which naturally rehabilitates the soil. Once a healthy soil base has been established, native grass seeds are planted, again using a no-till drill method. This is a lengthy, expensive process, but we think that fighting for our planet is worth it.
HUMANE ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Wild Idea and our sourcing partners believe in Humane Animal Husbandry and follow our large landscape grazing standards. Our bison graze 365 days a year on prairie grasslands in all weather conditions. We supplement grass hay only in times of severe conditions, such as drought or snow-packed winters.
When harvesting an animal for food, we take it a step further and insist on a Humane Field Harvest in the pastures where the animals graze. Our Humane Field Harvest increases the quality and tenderness of the meat by eliminating the fear and high cortisol levels in the animal. And yes, you can taste the difference!
Note: It is important to know that 90% of the buffalo raised for food are finished in paddocks or CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), which eliminates their ability to roam and graze. This practice also contributes to greenhouse gas admissions. The further steps of confinement in trailers and slaughterhouses are inhumane and adds a tremendous amount of fear in the animal, triggering high levels of the cortisol hormone, affecting the meat’s quality. This way of raising animals for food is an insult to them and unconscionable to us.
Although the large predators of our western South Dakota prairie ecosystem are mostly gone, some of our sourcing partners are still fortunate to have them on their ranches. These predators, such as; mountain lions, bears, and wolves, co-evolved with the bison. Predation issues are not a huge concern for our ranching partners, it is the balance of the ecosystem that is more important.
BEYOND REGENERATIVE - SOCIAL IMPACT
In bringing back the buffalo, Wild Idea looked to our Native neighbors and their relationship and respect for the buffalo. This has opened up opportunities to work with our Native neighbors, which has helped bring economic development to struggling communities. The buffalo are building bridges and are assisting in healing broken relationships. We are grateful to be a part of it.
REGENERATIVE & SUSTAINABLE FOOD
We have used nature as our guide in our regenerative practices. We treat our buffalo and their prairie ecosystem with the respect and care that they both deserve. Our buffalo are 100% grass-fed/grass-finished, 100% antibiotic & hormone free, 100% herbicide & pesticide free, 100% GMO free, and 100% humanely field harvested. The above practices keep carbon stored safely in the ground and promotes a nutrient-rich soil base, which creates a healthy grassland and a species diverse ecosystem.
The by-product of regenerative efforts is like the soil itself, nutrient-rich buffalo meat. By raising our bison as nature intended, it has allowed us to supply conscientious consumers with the delicious, healthy, 100% grass-fed meat they demand. Our model of raising buffalo leads to a superior source of protein that’s good for you and the environment.
Quite simply, if you are searching for the healthiest, most sustainable, and most humanely raised red meat available that doesn't come with an IOU, look no further than Wild Idea Buffalo Company.