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Rural Missouri Magazine

Where the buffalo roam
Shepherd Farms, Clifton Hill

by Bob McEowen

Before Europeans settled the West, bison roamed free on the vast American plains. Today, you’re more likely to see the uniquely American animal grazing on farms, as health-conscious consumers turn to bison for a reduced fat/lower calorie alternative to beef.

Bison producers tout the meat as higher in protein and nutrients than other meats.

One of the longtime leaders in Missouri’s bison industry is Shepherd Farms, located west of Moberly, near Clifton Hill. The 3,200-acre farm currently is home to about 300 bison, including the two young bulls shown on our cover. Many of these animals can be seen grazing in pastures alongside Highway 24.

In addition to its bison operation, Shepherd Farms raises pecans in a 250-acre orchard — one of the largest pecan plantings in the state — and leads the nation in commercial production of eastern gamagrass, a warm-season prairie grass that is used for livestock feed.

The Shepherd family’s bison and pecan products are primarily sold through an on-farm store, pictured at left. Bison meat is offered as steaks, roasts and ground meat. Fresh pecans are sold, along with other nuts from other states. The Shepherds also offer a line of private label jams and jellies.

The farm store is open year-round, though hours are somewhat irregular during January through March. The Shepherds recommend calling first if planning a visit in March. For more information, call (660) 261-4567 or log onto www.shepherdfarms.com.

 

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