CANTON, Kan. – Auction organizers said steadily increasing demand for buffalo meat could amount to good prices on surplus buffalo from a herd in southwest Kansas during an upcoming annual auction, according to The Associated Press. The buffalo auction is planned for Nov. 14, at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge in Canton, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism relayed.
Maintaining small herds of buffalo across Kansas, the department noted that approximately 100 buffalo from its display herd at the Maxwell refuge will be sold at the auction, which typically attracts spectators and buyers from throughout the US.
Prices paid for the iconic animals range from several hundred dollars to several thousand, it added. Owen Meier, tour director at the refuge, which is about 30 miles northwest of Wichita, said a two-year-old buffalo is expected to go for anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800.
The annual auction usually attracts about 300 potential buyers from around the US and that many of the sales will go to ranchers who raise buffalo for meat. “If you go to the store to buy it, it costs you about $8 a pound, and that's kind of on the cheaper side,” he said.
Consumer demand for bison meat has been rising and continues to outpace supply, the National Bison Association's website relays. In 2011, the average price for a young bull carcass was nearly $4 per lb., or 65 percent higher than the price paid three years ago, the association said.
At end of the 1800s, less than 1,000 bison were in the US, but the most recent data shows about 220,000 buffalo now exist in the US, according to the National Bison Association.
Kansas has about 100 different buffalo herds, and owners of most belong to the association, which prohibits the use of hormones and preventive antibiotics, said Dick Gehring, a member of the Kansas Buffalo Association.
“The meat demand is driving the whole market, and the meat market is very strong, very solid,” he concluded.