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ISSUE DATE: 05/12/2014

Finding a niche with buffalo

By Jennifer M. Latzke

James and Sandy Stepp have tried various agritourism ventures over the past 17 years.

What started out as a hobby buffalo herd of six head on their Sandy Springs Farms near Hinton, Okla., grew into a herd of 160 head and a facility that could host bus tours and special events. They created Wichita Buffalo Company as a label for their buffalo meat and jerky they sold at the Oklahoma City Farmers Market on weekends and to local shops and restaurants. A local basket weaver offered to put on clinics at their facility, and now they offer basket classes for the public. They’ve even hosted film crews and have been a dinner location for the folks with Outstanding in the Field.

Some activities worked for them. Some didn’t. The lessons they’ve learned through trial and error just might help others as they decide how agritourism or marketing through the local food movement might work in their own operations.

In 1997 James was a computer consultant on assignment in North Dakota. There he saw a few small buffalo herds and learned about the animals. He knew they might do well in Oklahoma.

“They do well on the natural grasses out here, they withstand the weather and their meat is very healthy,” he said. “Plus, they are just beautiful animals.”


NEWS

Be on the lookout for brown recluse spiders
Bob Funk named DASNR Champion by OSU
EPA honors winners of 2013 Campus RainWorks Challenge
Game on to succeed Lucas
Kansas Farm Bureau in fast lane at Kansas Speedway
Latzke picks up award, passes gavel in Hutchinson
Mirta Martin named new FHSU president
Moran announces SBA disaster assistance to Cherokee, Crawford and Labette counties
NeFU board calls on state's congressional delegation to endorse, advocate passage of the wind energ
Northeast Kansas Entrepreneurship Academy planned
Oklahoma Forestry Services gives wildfire update
Oklahoma Forestry Services to unveil new wildfire risk assessment web portal
Pest control guides will soon be available on smartphones
Pests hitch a ride to ruin ponds
USDA invites applications for loans, grants to support renewable energy
USDA researchers simplify pyrolysis processes for bio-oil production
Wildfires expected to cost more than $1B to extinguish
Windmill technology workshop set May 21-22

CROPS

2014 Next Generation Agricultural Conference scheduled May 22 in Waco
All major grain-producing areas experiencing some level of drought
American Corn Growers Foundation advocates wind energy
American Farmland Trust: 2012 Census of Agriculture shows steady decline continues in land devoted t
Arkansas Grown revamped to expand markets for state's farmers
Atrazine: Cheap herbicide, costly pollutant
Better genetic markers developed for wheat streak mosaic virus resistance
Brother/sister team wins statewide Soybean Science Challenge
Concerns about corn planting progress affect market
Cover crops improve long-term soil health
Deadline extended for Kansas teachers to attend summer institute
Grants awarded to support Colorado agriculture
Japanese milling executives take coast-to-coast look at U.S. wheat crop
Kansas canola field tours scheduled in May
K-State to host International Food Security Symposium in 2015
K-State to host Wheat Tour in Tribune, Spring Field Day in Garden City
MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic reopens
National Festival of Breads promoted at Kansas Sampler Festival
NRCS, Jamestown begin flood recovery construction
Teacher of the year, regional awards deadline is June 18
USDA to conduct soy checkoff request for referendum
Wheat tour estimate is lowest in 18 years

LIVESTOCK

4-H sheep and meat goat fitting, showing and care clinic set June 2
Angus influence grows in U.S. herds
Beef Cattle Institute offers new animal handling training modules
Beef consumption down but not demand
BSE case reported in Brazil
Calving clinics help producers protect investment
Don't count on cold to kill parasites
EHV-1 case confirmed in northeast Kansas horse
Feeding the top performer
Finding a niche with buffalo
From 'happy accidents' to intentional beef quality
Grassfed beef focus of conference
ICA bulls at Dunlap have average sale price of $2,700
KBC spearheading Beef Month celebration
May is Beef Month in Kansas
Montana Stockgrowers announces 130th mid-year meeting in Miles City
Montana Stockgrowers seeking applications for 2014 Environmental Stewardship Award
More positive trichomoniasis cases confirmed in Kansas
Mountain lion depredation of calf confirmed near Brewster
Muddy pens cause decrease in cattle gains
Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation announces scholarship recipients
Nebraska Cattlemen pleased with passage of LR 399
Nebraska Cattlemen welcomes new south central field staff member
Nebraska State Fair launches two new cattle shows
Nominations sought for Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin contest
Online Chinese pork promotion draws rave reviews
Promotion increases number of BQA-certified producers
Scholarships support future beef industry leaders
Sheep grazing webinar available
Show-Me-Select heifers to sell May 16
Some cows' infertility linked to Y chromosome
Take steps to keep horses healthy
Test bull fertility now for summer breeding season
Test herds for bovine trichomoniasis
UW Extension hosts preparing for animal, plant, food disasters course

EDITOR

Bacon no longer takes a backseat to bananas
Making sense of truck regulations
Reader agrees with Loos' Bundy column
Slower trade progress
Why is government spending $9 million on something already available privately?

COLUMNS

Beef industry offers $25,000 scholarships to recognize 25th year
Business, human sides of ag highlighted at farm summit
Cattle market very active
Drought of common sense
Dryer controller firm adds to product list
Firm makes fence building 'easier'
Firm's product helps build fences
In other agribusiness news...
Kansas, Pakistan work on soybean aquaculture project
Pasture poultry and breakfast burritos

MARKETS

Amarillo livestock sales summary
Apache livestock auction report
Below normal temps persist South Dakota
Corn, wheat have solid gains
Dodge City livestock auction report
Fort Smith livestock auction report
Grain market close
Hay trade very slow
High Plains direct slaughter cattle sales report
Hot, humid conditions prevail across much of state Texas
McAlester livestock market report
Moisture in some areas improves pastures New Mexico
Most hay selling steady
Most topsoil moisture rated adequate Missouri
Most topsoil moisture rated adequate or above Arkansas
OKC West auction report
Planting progress being made Kansas
Pratt livestock auction report
Precipitation slows fieldwork Nebraska
Reported wildfires, no relief for small grains Oklahoma
Salina livestock auction report
South Central Direct Sheep report
West Plains regional cattle sales report

RANGE

Brush up on haylage history
Controlling cheatgrass, downy brome and wild oats
Minimizing the risks of fescue toxicosis in cattle
Nebraska Youth Range Camp applications open
USDA research shows potential impact of climate change on rangeland plants
Using fire to keep rangelands viable for grazing

FAMILY

Amarillo hosts National Cowboy Gathering
Aspen has refreshing contemporary look
Burlington FFA member exhibits Grand Lamb at Northwest District Junior Livestock Show
Coors Cowboy Club Ranch Rodeo planned for early June
Lists of 'bad' foods often not helpful
Meditation
New documentary "Farmland" making theatrical run
OSU students take top honors in design competition
Pizza perfected at home
Vegetable planting calendar a must for all gardeners

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