From Suburban Chicago to Rural Montana: the Journey of a Bison Rancher

Matt Skoglund was an attorney with a conservation non-profit, but over time was drawn to work on the land. With no prior agrarian experience he started a successful bison ranch using regenerative principles.

Matt Skoglund grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, went to law school, and for ten years worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council doing policy work to protect bison in Yellowstone. Always happy in the outdoors and with an interest in both hunting and conservation, he started a bison ranch in 2018 near Bozeman, Montana. North Bridger Bison is a ranch that values biodiversity, wildlife, humane treatment of livestock––and healthy, nutritious meat.


2’55 attorney turned bison rancher
4’39 worked at the NRDC on bison policy issues
5’29 Interagency Bison Management Plan
6’17 falling in love with bison
7’34 Buffalo for the Broken Heart by Dan O’Brien
8’24 learning about the field harvest of bison, which is better for the animal and the meat
9’33 realized that he could be a rancher even if he didn’t grow up ranching
11’06 rotational/holistic grazing and wildlife friendly–managing for biodiversity
13’10 all the different animals living on the ranch and how they interact with the bison–bison defend themselves well against carnivores
15’06 what the bison herd’s life is like
17’03 when bison shed in the spring that helps many other animals
17’41 bison adapted to all temperatures from thirty below zero F to summer heat
19’16 figuring out the size of the herd ecologically and economically
20’09 the ratio of male to female bison changes over the course of the year
21’22 the process of field harvest
22’38 “there’s no such thing as a bloodless diet” Diane Rodgers
24’08 the process of choosing which animal to kill
26’08 bison are the biggest badasses on the continent
27’03 working with a nearby processor, the Amsterdam Meat Shop
27’57 loving the tangibility of the work and the satisfaction of providing healthy food
30’43 going out to field harvest when it’s 19° below zero
32’46 relationship with neighboring ranchers and appreciation for the benefits of ranching
33’55 “It’s not the cow, it’s the how”
35’27 what it’s like to be with bison
37’02 they eat a lot of bison, the benefits of the meat
38’15 why they sell bulk only
41’06 vision for changing the food system for meat, a more decentralized system
42’43 “eat with your eyes wide open”
44’37 Outstanding In The Field dinner July 13 at the ranch
46’06 North Bridger

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