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Farming of Native American Species

The raising of native species, with cervids playing a major part, has been the rule throughout the world. The Chinese have been farming deer for at least 5,000 years. The Romans were active game ranchers throughout their history. Several references are made to game ranching in the Bible. In Europe , private game farms are as old as farming itself. We in North America have been raising elk on private property since before the turn of the century. The elk now on farms and ranches have been behind wire for generations. The last 20 years have seen a marked increase in the raising of domestic elk, with a tremendous increase in the last five years. In North America , the farming of native species has been established with various species.

1. A variety of freshwater fish (rainbow trout, red fish) are found in the wild and have been farmed for decades by private groups as well as by government agencies.

2. Several bird species (pheasants, quail, geese, ducks) are also in the wild and farmed by a wide variety of groups.

3. Mink and fox have been farmed for their fur for decades.

4. There are approximately 150,000 elk on farms and ranches in North America.

North American Elks

Gaze across the fields to see two young elk dancing across the meadow. Is it a dream? Most farmers would say it is the closest thing to a living dream. It could all be a reality, however, if the will is there. It is possible. Celebrated achievements abound as the elk business matures and time shows an escalating supply and demand. The expansion of elk farms comes from a growing interest in the animal and the market. It seems not even the sky could be a limit for elk economy as the Asian market continues and a growing interest of elk products in the United States and other regions are exploding. Natural products from elk are treasured as well. Boots, gloves and other clothing items are rendered from the soft, yet durable leather. The antlers make beautiful jewelry, art and home decor. Not only are the markets profitable, ask an elk farmer, there is no better place to be than on the farm.

Domesticated elk are the same species as in the wild: but because of vastly different behavioral characteristics, they, in fact, are very different animals. They are particularly suited to the North American environment. The North American elk industry is worth approximately $500 million (including animals, wire, facilities, and money invested). The products produced by these magnificent animals have a long and proven demand both domestically and internationally. Farmers, ranchers, and investors recognize the short- and long-term benefits of this industry. The raising of elk is not a monopoly business by a few. The larger the supply of the various products the industry has to offer, the greater the awareness will be, and the larger the marketplace will become. In North America , the raising of elk will be in a stock-up phase for at least another five years. The North American Elk Breeders Association is working with farm organizations such as the FFA to demonstrate the tremendous potential of the elk industry. Elk are the livestock of the future. The per-acre rate of return of raising elk on agricultural land far exceeds that of most traditional agricultural land uses. The continued benefits of very low management levels, high rates of return, long established markets and the intrinsic beauty of the animal insure the future of elk in mainstream agriculture.

Elks: Fast Facts

•  Males don't need to be castrated

•  Removing the antlers is humane and is done with vet care, with no injury to the animal and is for the protection of the owner and animal

More about Elks

The Benefits of Elk

Other Major Markets: Elk

What is an Elk?