We are frequently asked this question by those that are simply curious to those who think we are insane, so here’s our story:
Buffalo Ridge began rather modestly with my husband and myself choosing to leave behind the conveniences of city life to connect on a deeper level with the beauty of nature. Animal lovers at heart, the ranch was soon populated with horses, unwanted pups & kitties, chickens, ducks, and 2 adorable pot-bellied piggies, Rosie and Wilbur. On many a sunset evening, we dreamt of what the land once was and tried to imagine all the wild creatures that roamed freely here “way back when.” We took special joy in its current occupants: wild turkey, coyotes, deer, owls, bobcats, and an abundance of songbirds. That was when we began to envision buffalo.
Restoring the majestic buffalo to the land of their ancestors soon became a calling for us, something much bigger than ourselves. After gathering some initial research and insight from other bison ranchers, we purchased 13 youngsters to begin our herd. The joy we felt was immeasurable and grew each day as they matured. We worked hard to understand their ways and were ever mindful of opportunities to improve the young herd’s experience of a living within a ranch setting.
Working hand-in-hand with the Missouri Department of Conservation, we set up a rotational grazing program on 330 acres. This allows the buffalo to have fresh grass on a regular basis while giving grazed pastures a chance to recover. Our buffalo, now numbering around 100, have positively loved the arrangement. They have become quite adept at standing by the gate when they’re ready to move to the next pasture. Once we open the gate, they stampede into the new field, running in circles, prancing and kicking up their heels before finally plunking their heads down in the grass to feast. From the massive bulls and matriarchs to the littlest calves, they all partake in celebrating their daily “mini-migration.”
We never tire of the buffalo’s company. Yes, it’s stressful to work them in the chutes, and yes, it hurts selecting those that go to the processor. But, it’s also extremely rewarding to know we are part of a growing number of producers who believe that restoring bison to their proper habitat is the right thing to do, not just for the bison, but for the land and the other species that have depended upon them for millenia.
When you choose Buffalo Ridge, you choose a local, family-owned business endeavoring to serve the community in a responsible and sustainable way. You share your passion for the outdoors and for protecting and preserving all who dwell in it.
~ Amy & Michael Billings