Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Farmers Find Profit in Elk Breeding

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Farmers Find Profit in Elk Breeding

Article excerpt

DRUMRIGHT (AP) -- Some Oklahoma ranchers are finding profit and a growing market for a new herd -- elk.

About 60 elk roam the grassy hills on Dennis Watson's Cross Timbers Elk Ranch near Drumright. His is one of 32 elk ranches licensed in Oklahoma.

"I've never been involved in anything that is as fascinating as the elk," said Watson, who got into the business in 1994 to diversify his berry and Christmas tree farm.

Paula Whiting of the North American Elk Breeders Association in Missouri said elk numbers have grown from 70,000 two years ago to about 100,000.

Elk antlers, which can be harvested annually, are in demand for medicinal uses, primarily in Asian markets. In the U.S. market, antlers are used for products such as belt buckles and chandeliers.

Ranchers also are finding a growing market for breeding and selling the animals. Watson sells elk calves for $3,500 to $4,000 each.

Elk meat, which sells for $20 per pound, sometimes is found in upscale restaurants. …

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