The USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) in the next few weeks will launch Bison 2014, the first-ever national study of the U.S. ranched-bison industry. This initiative is intended to increase knowledge and understanding about the characteristics, health and management practices, and challenges facing bison operations in the United States.

"Bison 2014 represents a major cooperative effort to identify the needs of our producers, and to help target resources to help our industry continue to grow," said Bruce Anderson of South Dakota, president of the National Bison Association.

To collect the data for the study, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will send all U.S. ranched bison producers a questionnaire and materials describing the study.  Producers are asked to complete and return the questionnaire within two weeks.

Bison 2014 is being conducted as a result of discussions between the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and representatives of the U.S. bison industry, including the National Bison Association. NAHMS obtained input from bison producers and other industry stakeholders to define the most critical information needs of the industry; this input was used to develop the Bison 2014 study objectives:

  • Provide a baseline description of the U.S. bison industry, including basic characteristics of operations, such as inventory, size, and type.
  • Describe current U.S. ranched-bison industry production practices and challenges, including identification, confinement and handling, animal care, and disease testing.
  • Describe health management and biosecurity practices important for the productivity and health of ranched bison.
  • Describe producer-reported occurrence of select health problems and evaluate potentially associated risk factors.

The Bison 2014 study will be conducted by NAHMS under its designation as a statistical unit under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA).  By law, all information collected during the Bison 2014 study will be used for statistical purposes only and will be treated as confidential in accordance with CIPSEA guidelines. Bison 2014 results will be presented only in an aggregate manner.