We are Rick and Lori Hedlund, co-owners of Green Fields Bison Ranch. People often ask us why we decided to raise bison or buffalo. Rick’s interest in ranching began when he spent four summers in high school working on his uncle’s ranch in eastern South Dakota. His interest in raising bison began as he served the Lakota people in South Dakota through the Public Health Service. He would often watch the bison as they roamed out on the Pine Ridge reservation and on large ranches around Rapid City. He came to have a respect for the bison and an interest in raising them.
Lori has special memories of summer trips with her family to her grandmother’s farm in Warrenton, Virginia. We would milk the cows, inhale the smell of fresh bales of hay in the barn, ride the horses, swim, canoe and fish in the “big” pond, pick ripe tomatoes from the garden, and catch fireflies in the evenings. Farm life was good. Looking back on those memories the one thing that was absent was the amount of work it takes to keep a farm running! So when I met and married Rick and he told me that he wanted to raise bison on a ranch someday, the idea seemed appealing and exciting.
Life certainly has been exciting since we started building our bison herd. We purchased our first group of 17 heifer calves in November 2013 at Antelope Island State Park in Utah. We brought in a four year old heifer who became the “mom” of the group. Baby Girl knew gates and where to graze for food. She helped these new calves to adjust to life on a ranch that had fences and gates. In February 2014 we drove to Custer State Park in South Dakota to pick up nine bison bull calves that we had purchased in an online auction which brought our herd to 27 animals. We have grown since then and this Spring had 17 bison calves born on our ranch. Its exciting to see the new calves grow and enjoy their lives.
We named our ranch, “Green Fields Bison Ranch,” for several reasons:
- one of the first pictures we took of the ranch after we purchased it was of the beauty of the green fields. In fact, this picture is on our Facebook page. Throughout the fall, winter and spring our fields are an array of different shades of green.
- the word “green” connotates healthy pastures and a commitment to keeping the environment healthy; and
- the name highlights our commitment to being sustainable and to managing our ranch in such a way that it does not hurt the environment and protects natural resources for future generations.