Bison brand

Profile of Jorn Nordmann.

Nordmann discovered he owned 100 bison less than two years ago after buying a couple hundred hectares of farmland near Grande Prairie as a recreational property. Since then, he has pumped $7 million into an emerging industry plagued by poor marketing, inconsistent quality and often-overpriced products. He has become a major landholder in the Peace Country, home to the largest concentration of bison ranches in Canada, and his herd of 1,800 is one of the biggest in the industry. He incorporated Grande Prairie Bison to manage his operations and registered it as a trademark. Now, he wants to turn the name into a major consumer brand that food distributors in Canada, the U.S. and Europe recognize and trust.

Since emigrating from Germany in the mid-1970s, Nordmann has earned his living from the sea, first as a buyer and seller of Pacific salmon caught off the coasts of B.C. and Alaska and, for the past decade, as a processor and marketer of halibut-“hal-ee-boot,” as he calls it. His firm, S.M. Products Ltd. (the name stands for seafood and meat) moved 360,000 kilograms of halibut 10 years ago. In 2002, the company put nine million kilograms through its Fraser River plant-more than one-third of the North American catch-making Nordmann the largest distributor of halibut on the continent.

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