A Passion For The Herd

By Jill Fennema and Macy Halbur –

For the past 22 years, John Bowron and his family have been raising bison near Luverne. There have been good times and there have been hard times, but this farmer has no regrets about his decision to get out of beef and into bison.

John says they were a beef family. They raised cows and calves and had a nice herd. In 1996, John sold his dad’s beef herd and borrowed against his land so he could follow his dream of raising buffalo. “We laid everything on the line to follow our passion,” he said.

Their first purchase was 24 bison heifers and 2 bulls.

They struggled through the first few years. “We took some serious tumbles,” John recalls. There started to be more bison than there was a market for, so they began doing some agri-tourism on the side. They would have up to 3,000 people a summer go through their facility and tour the herd. They could go to the pasture, hear the story of their farm, and then return to the farm for a bison lunch.

John’s ancestors were livestock dealers that drove the Dakotas in the 1930’s. His grandfather believed it was possible to make money in good times and in bad times. So even though things were tough, John kept buying bison. He would get on the phone and buy them, sight unseen, and would either go pick them up himself or send a trucker to get them.

“We laid everything on the line to follow our passion,” John Bowron, owner of Prairie Heights Bison

Raising bison is John Bowron’s business. He has a herd of over 130 near Luverne. (Photos by Macy Halbur)

John Bowron knows that it takes special tactics to work with buffalo. He says “You drive cattle. You lead bison.”

For the complete article, please see the February 7th edition of the Edgerton Enterprise. If you do not currently receive the Enterprise, CLICK HERE for information on how to subscribe!