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Bison have always been a symbol of strength and resilience. They can help build up soil more quickly than can cattle, which tend to concentrate in waterways and under trees. Bison prefer staying in grasslands, in a tight herd, so you see a great impact from high-density grazing. Their hooves are spade-shaped, so they break up the soil, preventing soil compaction and re-releasing seeds.”
This statement by Katie Forrest of ROAM Bison Ranch exemplifies the mission of today’s bison rancher. This telling image she provided of her enticing a young bison with a treat, demonstrates the respect and passion this rancher has for her herd. Katie is among three women bison ranchers featured in Susan L. Ebert’s extensively researched and socially important essay. Ebert tells the story of the iconic creature and the ways in which these modern ranchers are naturally cultivating their herds through the connection between grazing lands and the animal’s surroundings. Their results speak for themselves. Their methods encourage a healthy and abundant resource for not just the bison, but for the ranchers and other species that rely on the bison’s near-perfect ecosystem.