Challenge grants giving boost to Bison Center for Excellence
WESTMINSTER, Colo. — People wanting to support the newly-chartered Center of Excellence for Bison Studies now have an opportunity to double the value of their contribution, thanks to two generous donors committing challenge grants to support fundraising efforts.
The Center of Excellence was formally launched in September as a partnership between South Dakota State University, the National Bison Association and the National Buffalo Foundation, according to a news release. The Center of Excellence for Bison Studies is headquartered at SDSU’s West River Research and Extension facility in Rapid City.
Following a presentation on the center’s activities at the recent National Bison Association Winter Conference, an anonymous donor offered to match up to $50,000 in new donations in support of the center. Immediately after that announcement, John Flocchini of the Durham Ranch in Wyoming announced that the ranch would match the $50,000 commitment and would pledge an additional $50,000 as a new challenge grant. Conference participants stepped up with pledges of $23,000 toward that second $50,000 challenge.
The next $27,000 in pledges will continue to be matched by the Durham Ranch. Those pledges can be submitted to the National Buffalo Foundation, a public 501©(3) organization, at www.nationalbuffalofoundation.org/donate/
National Bison Association Executive Director Dave Carter said, “This grassroots commitment from individual bison producers demonstrates the strong commitment our members are making to support new research that will strengthen the health of our herds and the land, and that will help us continue to connect the public with deliciously healthy bison meat.”
COE Director Kristi Cammack said, “the commitment made by the bison community today will go a long way to supporting the type of research and outreach that will benefit everyone in our business, and the customers who rely on us for high quality, nutritious products.”
The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill authorizes the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture to recognize centers of excellence in research, extension and education in the food and agricultural sciences. The Center of Excellence for Bison Studies is coordinated through SDSU, but will include active participation by researchers and extension officials from other land grant universities, including 1994 tribal land-grant colleges and universities.
The center focuses on research activities to improve bison herd health and the economic viability of both private and tribal bison producers.