Alberta’s Lakeland College gets $4M gift from ranchers to buy land, establish bison herd

Lakeland College announced Tuesday that it has received a $4-million donation to establish and buy land for a bison herd at the east-central Alberta school.

The donation was made by Armin and Rita Mueller, owners of Canadian Rangeland Bison and Elk. The college said it will serve to benefit the animal science technology program at its campus in Vermilion, Alta.

“It’s the largest single gift Lakeland has ever received,” the college’s president and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart said in a news release. “I admire Armin’s passion for the bison industry and dedication to sustainable agricultural practices.

“I know Lakeland and our students will benefit from this visionary investment for years to come.”

READ MORE: Farmers using bison to improve crop sustainability

According to the college, the donation also raises the possibility that the school could collaborate on future bison research projects with other post-secondary institutions or industry partners.

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“I’ve had a lifelong fascination with bison,” Armin said. “I love everything about them.

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“For the students to learn more about bison and gain hands-on experience is going to be fascinating for them… It would be great if 10, 20 or 30 years down the road we see a lot more bison in the fields again.”

READ MORE: Elk Island to move bison to Alberta First Nation

The college said the Muellers, who hail from Switzerland, have lived near Bentley, Alta., for 40 years. They previously worked in the dairy industry before focusing on bison 20 years ago.

Lakeland College hopes to offer a bison production course by September 2021.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about bison.

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