Les Kroeger, president of the Saskatchewan Bison Association and owner of Rosedale Bison, has been raising bison since 1989. Today he and his wife Kathy run a herd of 150 animals on their 650-acre farm near Hanley, Sask.
“One of our reasons for getting into bison was the romance of the animal,” says Les Kroeger. “There’s just something that grabs you when you start working with them.”
The perfect fit for conscientious consumers, Rosedale Bison's herd is free from antibiotics, growth hormones, or stimulants of any kind and is raised on organic, native prairie grasses. Bison is a nutrient-dense, flavourful meat that is high in protein, low in cholesterol, and very low in fat. It also has a greater concentration of iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids than beef.
Advocates of low-stress handling procedures and animal welfare, the Kroegers handle the bison as little as possible. “We’ve got handling facilities built specifically for bison, which is a huge asset. We don’t do anything fast when we work with bison — the less activity around them means we can work them calmer and slower.” Additionally, the Kroegers butcher bison on site. “By doing the slaughtering here means there’s less stress on the animal and a better quality meat as a result.”
“They’re majestic and intelligent animals,” says Kathy Kroeger. “I think there’s a spirituality about them as well. They looked after themselves long before we decided to take care of them.”