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NAHMS Bison Studies


NAHMS Bison 2022

Study Materials

The National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), a nonregulatory unit of USDA-APHIS-VS, will conduct its second national study of the U.S. bison industry from July through November 2022. The NAHMS Bison 2022 Study, conducted in collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), is designed to provide a snapshot of current health and management practices on U.S. bison operations. The information collected will also allow for the analysis of trends in specific topics related to bison health, based on a previous NAHMS study, Bison 2014.

All known bison producers and stewards will receive a questionnaire in the mail in July and are encouraged to participate in the study. Participants can complete the questionnaire using their choice of one of three modes: a paper questionnaire, an online web survey, or a telephone interview with a NASS enumerator. Respondents to the questionnaire will have the chance to collect biological samples for free testing to assess the health of their herd, including fecal sampling for parasite and/or enteric microbe levels and pasture forage nutrition analysis. Results will be provided confidentially to respondents, for possible use in herd management decisions, and also will be analyzed in aggregate to provide valuable information for the bison business and stewardship practices.

For more information, please see the resources listed above.

Needs Assessment Survey for NAHMS Bison 2022 Study

To help develop the information objectives for the study, NAHMS conducted a brief online survey of people involved in or interested in the bison industry. Conducted in late 2020, the survey helped identify the health issues facing the bison industry that producers and other stakeholders consider to be the most important, the critical information needs regarding health management and production practices used in the U.S. bison industry, and ways to encourage bison producers to participate in the Bison 2022 study.

NAHMS Bison 2014

The USDA conducted the first national study of the U.S. ranched-bison industry from September 2014 through March 2015. The study focused on health and management practices in the U.S. bison industry to increase knowledge and understanding about the characteristics and challenges of ranched-bison operations.

The Bison 2014 study was conducted as a result of discussions between APHIS and representatives of the U.S. bison industry. Industry members and other stakeholders provided input for the study process.

Through a needs assessment conducted online in 2013, NAHMS obtained input from bison producers, academia, State and Federal government agencies, animal health professionals, and other stakeholders to define the information needs of the industry. This input was used to develop the Bison 2014 study objectives:

  • Provide a baseline description of the U.S. ranched-bison industry, including basic characteristics of operations, such as inventory, size, and type.
  • Describe current U.S. bison industry production practices and challenges, including identification, confinement and handling, animal care, and disease testing.
  • Describe health management and biosecurity practices important for the productivity and health of ranched bison.
  • Describe producer-reported occurrence of select health problems and evaluate potentially associated risk factors.

All producers who reported having bison on the 2012 Census of Agriculture, conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, were eligible to participate in Bison 2014 and received a questionnaire in the mail. As with other NAHMS studies, the study was national in scope, collaborative in nature, and voluntary. 

The Bison 2014 study was conducted by NAHMS under its designation as a statistical unit under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA). By law, all information collected during the Bison 2014 study will be used for statistical purposes only and will be treated as confidential in accordance with CIPSEA guidelines. Bison 2014 results are presented only in an aggregate manner.



The NAHMS Bison 2014 StoryMap is a stand-alone web-based resource that provides a summary of the highlights from the NAHMS Bison 2014 study through an interface combining text, photos, maps, and simple data dashboards. It was developed on Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform with templates, map interfaces, and navigation devices designed by Esri, a geographic information system company.

Info Sheets:

Study Materials:

Links for Information on Bison

National Bison Association
National Buffalo Foundation
The Canadian Bison Association
Western College of Veterinary Medicine


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