28 May 1999
USA bails out buffalo ranchers

THE US agriculture department is bailing out buffalo ranchers hit by a glut of meat from the animal on the market.

It is spending $6 million (£3.75m) this year buying up a quarter of the ground bison meat production. The surplus meat is being given to nutritional programmes for Native Americans, whose way of life once revolved around following the herds as they roamed across the great plains.

The move has riled cattle farmers because the government is paying twice the price of ground beef for the excess produce.

Buffalo were once hunted to near extinction. There are now about 250,000 bison across America and the national population is thought to be increasing at 20% a year.

  • The Times 28/05/99 page 23