Bison producers from across Canada are gathering in Regina for their annual convention.

The executive director of the Canadian Bison Association, Carl Flis says this year's theme is Change, Challenge and Opportunity.

"We've seen some steady growth over the last couple of years. Without a doubt, just like the beef industry, bison is not immune to various challenges, including high feed prices and a couple of years of drought conditions across the prairies. So, we might see a little bit of downsizing here this year, but overall, we're still optimistic as far as growth in the industry."

Stats from the last census in 2021 showed the bison population over the previous five years had increased by 25 per cent. So all told, the bison population in Canada is about 150,000 head. 

The majority of the bison are located in the province of Alberta at 65,000, followed by Saskatchewan at 53,000. 

He says the Canadian herd is managed by approximately 989 ranchers, which again was an increase of 1.4 per cent, with the average herd size increasing from 122 to 151.

Flis says interest in bison is also growing at the consumer level with more meat showing up in retail stores and on restaurant menus.

The bison convention gets underway Sunday afternoon at the Ramada, with everything moving to Canadian Western Agribition on Tuesday for "Bison Day" at the show.

The focus on the bison industry begins at 1 pm in the John Deere Sale Arena with a Pow Wow Dance Troupe followed by information on the anatomy of bison, the ins and outs of judging bison, and a producer panel on why they choose bison.

Later that day at 6:30 is the Agribition Bison Sale.

Flis says bison prices over the summer have remained relatively flat but started improving in October.

"Bulls are ranging from 410 to 480 per cwt, heifers 370 to 480. So quite a wide range, mature bulls and mature cows remain pretty well flat, and have for a long time in that 200 to 230 per cwt."

He notes as far as pricing you never know what's going to happen at the sale.

The bison sale at Canadian Western Agribition attracts buyers and sellers from across North America.