Tribune-Courier features editor
People travel from far and wide to see the Elk and Bison Prairie at Land between the Lakes. A well-kept secret, though, are the Benton Bison Bottoms right here in Marshall County.
Benton Bison Bottoms and LBL’s prairie are entirely different, but they share a similarity - Marcus Cope. Cope says he has been “messing with buffalo since ‘76.”
Until the early 2000’s Cope worked with LBL and helped design the prairie and bring in bison.
In the early 90’s Cope said he was struck by the need to teach his children a work ethic. “I came home from work and saw our two boys playing Nintendo. That’s when I turned to my wife (Linda) and said, we can either raise boys who know how to play Nintendo, or we can raise boys who know how to work.”
The family formed Benton Bottoms Bison in 1991 with the purchase of 20 buffalo head from North Dakota. The goal of the farm was to raise and supply bison products to the community, which they have done, very successfully.
The bottoms, located off of Arant Rd. in Benton have now grown to about 50-60 “mom-cows” and a few bulls spread over 178 acres. The mom-cows carry the baby for close to nine months and the baby calf starts to ween away from the mom after eight months.
The acres are divided into four different sections. One section is more restricted to raising the calfs to about 22-30 weeks old, where they will then be killed and taken to the slaughterhouse in Benton to be processed. The Copes process about 50 bison a year.
“Bison meat is actually much better for you,” Linda Cope said, “Anything you can find in beef, you can find in Bison.”
From ribeye and t-bones to burgers and stew meat, all of the bison meat is available directly from the Cope’s home.
They also sell their meat to local restaurants, such as, the Brass Lantern in Aurora, Miss Scarlet’s in Grand Rivers, Four Little Pigs in Benton and the Kentucky State Resort Parks. King Brothers in Benton and Der Dutch Merchant in Murray also have the meat available for purchase.
All of the bison are free roaming and chemical and grain free according to the Copes.
Benton Bottoms Bison is located at 1915 Arant Rd. in Benton. For more information phone them at 270-527-1876 or visit the National Bison Association website at www.bisoncentral.com