Bison Industry Faces Softer Market; Bar 33 Holds Auction to Help


The bison industry has taken a bit of a dip. Even with a soft market, the Bar 33 auction was still held today in Selfridge. Our Malique Rankin has the exclusive report.

With sale prices dropping, consignment sellers were told they could sit this auction out.

Ernie Fischer; Bar 33 owner: “The prices are a little soft now. I didn’t want them to bring them just to say we did. We’re going to make better money in the spring. If you have to sell some, bring them, I just don’t want you to lose money because I think they’ll be worth a bit more.”

Ernie Fischer, the owner of Bar 33 says this year they be selling less than half the amount of bison compared to previous years. He says that’s because the price of feed has risen, and droughts seen across the country have driven prices down. 

But there could be a silver lining.

Alex Heim; Wood, SD: “Usually at times when there’s a little uncertainty, it actually creates more opportunity for people”

Tom Mau; Tolley, ND: “We’re in the buyer mode right now. We’re looking for some animals to put on the ranch. We’ve been in the business for a few years now, so we’re looking to expand.”

The sale still brought in buyers from across the country. 

Ernie Fischer: “We have buyers from Texas, we have some from Custer, SD, we have some from Valentine, Nebraska. We have people here from Oregon and Washington.”

The Fischer’s say they didn’t need to sell now, or at such low prices, but it’s a way to support their industry, and community. 

Ernie Fischer: “They can come here if they want one, or if they want the whole pin. We’re here to support the industry.”

On average, this year’s sale was $300 less per animal compared to last year. This year, the auction sold 196 head. Last year, Bar 33 sold close to 500. They’ll hold another auction in the spring, hoping the market shifts for better prices.

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