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New Rockford bison processing plant expanding

Jim Wells, CEO and President, North American Bison, LLC
Courtesy North American Bison, LLC
Jim Wells, CEO and President, North American Bison, LLC

The North American Bison LLC processing plant in New Rockford is expanding.

"We've been experiencing solid growth, in terms of consumption of bison — not only domestically in the US, but across the globe," said North American CEO and President Jim Wells. "We saw a need to expand our production capacity."

Wells said a big driver of the expansion was the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We had a lot of consumers who were at home, preparing meals for themselves, and looking for healthy alternatives," Wells said. "Bison is extremely healthy."

Wells said it was more than just ground bison products.

"We ended up touching a nerve with consumers in regards to health, both on our traditional ground product, but also on our other lines, like steaks," Wells said. "So through COVID, we were able to expand our household consumption beyond the typical bison burger, and that's been a really positive thing for the industry."

Wells said North American Bison is harvesting around 11,000 animals on an annual basis.

"We're going to move our capacity to over 17,000 animals annually," Wells said.

Wells said a ceremony to celebrate the expansion has tentatively been scheduled for February.

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