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Not the same old BS: ND company bets big on bison manure

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A Minnesota couple and the owners of a large bison ranch in northeastern North Dakota have joined forces to market and sell a, um, byproduct of the herd.

The Forum reports gardeners and farmers are now able to get their hands on (and in) Bison Compost, which the developers call “America’s original compost.” The Forum story helpfully explains that compost "is a material produced during the decomposition of organic matter, such as manure." Adding it, the manure-preneurs say, can improve soil structure and provide nutrients for plants.

The compost is produced at North Prairie Bison Ranch near Leeds, which began raising the animals in 1993. The owners of the ranch started the business with their friends Judy and Tom Duenow of Elk River, Minnesota.

The compost was available at Pride of Dakota Day at the North Dakota State Capitol, which highlights products produced in the state. Bismarck's KXN-TV said producers of the product predicted success for the compost, to be used in gardens, potted plants and by farmers in the fields.

Tom Duenow said Bison Compost is especially effective because it has high nutrient value of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Preparing the compost is a three-month process.

The compost is now for sale on their website – – and is available in bags, boxes, pails and in bulk. They plan to market the product to smaller producers like vegetable farmers and greenhouses, but Tom Duenow said larger bulk orders are also possible.

North Prairie produces a complete line of bison meat snacks (summer sausages, jerky and snack sticks) that it ships nationwide.

Interest in bison continues to grow. The National Bison Association notes bison are grass-fed, and cites research from North Dakota State University that calls bison meat "a highly nutrient-dense food" that contains a high concentration of iron and essential fatty acids.

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