Published Sunday, November 20, 2016 5:21PM CST
Last Updated Sunday, November 20, 2016 6:35PM CST

There’s a high demand for bison meat these days – and producers are happy to be getting a piece of the action.

Les Kroeger took a gamble investing in the bison industry 26 years ago, but now his hard work is paying off.

“We had to look at ways to make enough money to keep ourselves on the farm,” Kroeger said. “Bison was a new industry up and coming, and it looked like it had a lot of great potential.”

That potential has translated into dollars, with the industry seeing a 30 per cent increase in the price of bison meat since 2014.

“Right now, a lot of our marketers in Canada and the U.S. tell us they short their customers pretty much on a weekly basis,” said Mark Silzer, a bison producer near Humboldt. “They can’t get enough bison to fill the current demand that’s out there.”

Saskatchewan houses about 300 of the1,000 bison producers in Canada. The meat is gaining popularity as a healthier alternative to beef.

“(The meat) is very dense in protein, zinc, B12, and very low in fat,” said Canadian Bison Association president Sharif Fahmy.

Bison are low maintenance animals. They rarely need help giving birth and boast 10 times more hair than beef cattle, giving them an advantage during cold prairie winters.

While investing in the bison industry can be pricey, Kroeger said it was worth the risk.

“Our future looks strong,” he said. “We’ve come together as a group of producers and we’re in it for the long run.”

Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Cally Stephanow