New Rockford Transcript - Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

KenMar Ranch plays host to national convention


July 15, 2019

The National Bison Association (NBA) made a stop in New Rockford during its summer convention July 7-10. The convention opened Sunday, and there were many events and activities for the 200 attendees to participate in and learn from, including a tour of the North Dakota Heritage Center and history of bison in North Dakota with Dr. Ken Throlson, David Lautt and Doug Woodall.

Attendees ended the convention with lunch and a tour of KenMar Buffalo Ranch south of New Rockford on Wednesday.

While enjoying lunch, NBA Executive Director Dave Carter stated that the convention is a way for producers “to learn from each other,” and it helps new producers become successful in their endeavors. Carter said that while the majority of members are from the Dakotas and Nebraska, there are many others from across the United States, including Hawaii.

Carter acknowledged that bison is a “niche” product, and as such he does not see it as being competition for the beef market. Carter continued by noting that there is huge potential for growth in the bison market. According to Carter the per capita consumption is .07 pounds per person annually in the United States. He continued on to say that if consumption increased to one quarter pound per person, sales would increase by four times.

Carter then deferred to Ken “Doc” Throlson, who he had referred to as a “pioneer in bison production.” Throlson, who was inducted in the Buffalo Hall of Fame in 1998, started his venture in bison ranching as a hobby in 1973. Throlson stated that he just “wanted to do something on the land” he owned. By the time he had retired in 2010, his herd head count was close to 900 bulls and cows. It was at this time that Peter Cook and Ryan Homelvig, along with Cook’s sisters, purchased Throlson’s ranch and began working together under the KenMar brand.

Cook and Homelvig spent much of the lunch hour manning the grill, preparing burgers and hot dogs for convention attendees. Homelvig declared that it was an “exciting honor to have the NBA convention come to the ranch.” Cook said the event was a “good way to learn how other producers operate their feeding and grazing” programs.

In 2002, the last time the convention was held in North Dakota, attendees gathered in Jamestown.


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