What makes the TenderBison difference? Independent ranchers like the Breens. Get to know their story and discover what it means both for us and their family.
What does raising bison mean to you and your family?
Karla: Rolling R Ranch has been raising bison for over 30 years. I was 6 years old when Dad brought his first bison home. As the second generation working on the ranch, PJ and I are proud to be able to continue the work Dad has done to improving the land, and raising these magnificent animals.
PJ: Karla grew up on the ranch, and we are thrilled to be able to have our three girls grow up here, too. It’s truly an idyllic spot to raise children.
While working on the ranch, it is not uncommon to find a car pulled off on the shoulder and the people inside taking pictures or simply gazing at one of our herds. It’s exciting to be a part of raising an animal that literally stops people in their tracks.
Can you share the name of your ranch and how long you have owned it?
Dale and Beth founded Rolling R Ranch in 1987. We joined the operation full time in 2017.
What kinds of practices are you implementing in terms of sustainability and humane treatment of the animals as a part of your operations?
PJ: Here at RRR, our focus begins with the grass. If we raise good grass, we can raise healthy bison.
It seems fencing is a never ending project on the ranch. We are constantly adding cross fencing to better utilize our pastures. ‘Rotational grazing’ is a buzz word, but it’s more than that. It is a way of improving our land and, in turn, improving our animals.
As far as our treatment of our animals, we ‘treat’ them as little as possible. Bison retain many of their wild instincts, and we do everything we can to keep it that way. We manage our animals, but from a distance. Typically we only “work” the animals once a year. When we do, it’s a family affair, with all hands on deck. Often, Karla and her brother and sister are all helping work a herd. Everyone knows their job, and does it quietly and carefully. Dale has designed our handling facilities to get the animals through as quickly and safely as possible, to minimize the stress on the herd.
What does your partnership with TenderBison mean to you?
Karla: Dad has been a part of NAB from the very beginning. When the plant was first starting out, I was in third grade. My brother, sister and I had raised 4H market pigs and had our “pig money” in the bank. Dad convinced us to invest our money in the plant, so we each bought one stock. Thirty years later, we are still proud to be partnering with NAB.
PJ: We are proud of our animals, and put a lot of work into them. Many people who have never tried bison before ask us where they can get some. When we point them to TenderBison products, we know they will get a high quality product, and their experience will be a positive one. If your first experience with bison meat is a good one, there are sure to be many more!
In addition to selling an exceptional product, NAB is also a great company to work with. North American Bison has always put ranchers first, and that commitment shows in every decision they make as a company. In business, having a strong, reliable partner is paramount, and NAB is that partner for our ranch.
What things would you like people to know about bison as a product?
PJ: In recent years, especially this year, consumers have been asking “where does my meat come from?” With bison, the answer is simple: here. Bison are native to North America. I saw a tee shirt recently that said “local for 130,000 years.” This brings the “eat local” movement to an entirely new level.
Bison roamed the Great Plains for millennia; their presence on the grasslands is a critical ingredient to the health of the entire ecosystem. People concerned about the impact their eating choices have on the environment can be proud to eat bison meat, knowing it was raised right, and that, by eating it, they are helping regenerative ranchers restore this animal to North America.
Karla: Naturally, our family eats a lot of bison. Our oldest daughter’s favorite food is bison tacos. Our middle girl loves bison meat pies. Our three year old loves bison meat sauce on her spaghetti. When we have company, we are proud to grill up some tenderloin or smoke short ribs. Bison is a lean meat that’s easy to cook with, and it is always a hit and a conversation piece.
Why would you tell someone to choose TenderBison bison products over beef?
Karla: First and foremost, you know where your meat comes from. These are animals that were raised and processed right here in the Midwest on small, family ranches. When you eat bison you support family ranches like ours.
PJ: When you choose bison, you’re not only choosing a meat that was sustainably raised by small family ranchers right here in the Midwest, you’re also choosing a superior product. If you want to celebrate with a steak, grill up some juicy, delicious burgers, or smoke a rack of ribs, you can’t do better than bison.