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Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch

upl_hawkeye-buffalo-ranchDesignated as a SSNHA Partner Site in 2004, Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch offers visitors the rare experience of interacting with these gentle giants that once roamed throughout the Midwest. This 500 acre family farm consists of rolling hills and timber that Dan McFarland and his family have lived and worked on for 156 years. When this land outside of what is now Fredericksburg, Iowa, was settled by his grandfather, it was still wild and his family lived in a small sod house.

Like many farm families, the McFarlands have adapted to the changes in agriculture over the years. After several years of declining beef prices in the early 1990s, the family made the decision to raise buffalo instead. This has allowed the family to maintain their farm, while supporting the growing farm-to-table movement. Though buffalo are now the focus of the ranch, the McFarlands also raise chicken and cattle, as well as other typical barnyard animals that visitors can interact with while on the farm.

Described as one of the most memorable experiences by SSNHA Youth Camp participants, the ranch offers a truly hands-on experience. During a tour of the ranch, visitors take a tractor ride into the timber where they come face-to-face with these awesome creatures. A staple to Native Americans, visitors can also sample buffalo meat or arrange for a home-style meal. For those wanting to delve deeper into the heritage of the buffalo, they can participate in a traditional Sioux “smudge” feather ceremony or make arrangements to hunt the buffalo on foot, just as settlers once did.

Through their active preservation of this iconic beast, the McFarland family is truly helping share an important piece of our country’s history. For more information on Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch, visit www.hawkeyebuffalo.com or call 563-237-5318.

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