Yvonne Mills - YR Bison Ranch in Red Deer, AB
Yvonne grew up on the West Coast in and around Vancouver, where her livestock experience was limited to competing in equestrian events such as show jumping and three-day eventing. Her career experience included a Criminology Degree and years in the legal profession. After meeting her husband, Rod Mills, she moved to Red Deer, and shortly after she became a Realtor. In 2005 they purchased a quarter section with 8 bison. With much learning and an ever-growing love of bison, they became first generation farmers and bison ranchers. Over the years she has focused on marketing the bison meat to the public, while Rod has focused on infrastructure improvements and bison feed, including learning how to cut, rake and bale hay for the bison. They have now grown our land base to several hundred acres and our bison to 200 in number, with two breeding herds and with the calves raised for meat.
With their sons they offer grass-fed and free-range bison meat through farm gate sales, producing all own hay, and keeping their bison free-range. In 2015 they built an on-site store from which to sell their bison meat, where they have customers visit from all over Canada and most of Central Alberta.
Several years ago she was introduced to improving soil health through no-till methods of varietal planting, and together they have focused on improving some of their land. They used this method in 2016 for the first time and to their delight the bison also enjoyed these plants. They are excited for the future sustainability of their land through their raising of bison and varietal planting. They are also focusing on improving the genetics of their bison so that they may one day offer breeding bison for sale.
They are very proud to support the Bison Producers of Alberta and the Canadian Bison Association as they work to improve life for bison and grow its availability to the public. Their love of land and bison only grows each year. She feels truly blessed to have bison to share their lives, help improve their land, and offer the public one of the healthiest meats available.