NAHMS Bison Studies

Last Modified: March 12, 2024
a large bison standing in grass

NAHMS, a nonregulatory unit of APHIS Veterinary Services, conducted its second national study of the U.S. bison industry from July through November 2022. 

The NAHMS Bison 2022 Study, conducted in collaboration with USDA's 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 received a questionnaire in the mail in July and were encouraged to participate in the study. Participants could 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 had 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.

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 Study

NAHMS 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. As with other NAHMS studies, the study was national in scope, collaborative in nature, and voluntary, and industry members and other stakeholders provided input for the study process. Bison 2014 results are presented only in an aggregate manner.

See the complete list of all NAHMS studies and related materials

Bison Studies