Entrepreneur - Bison Industry Consultant - Manufacturer - Bison Producer
Gervais Bisson is one of the visionaries of the bison industry in Canada. He purchased his first bison in 1978 when there were less than 1500 bison on farms in Canada. For the past 43 years Gervais has been a builder, a mentor to many, and a leader in the industry.
With his experience in this new and growing industry, Gervais established a bison consulting business in 1985 – Consortium Bison Plus. He assisted producers by planning corrals, fencing, setting up handling facilities, building chutes, purchasing animals, registering animals, and finding markets for the animals and the meat. He would host producer meetings at his farm to discuss bison health and nutrition and to demonstrate safe handling techniques. He drew on industry leaders like Bill Lenton from Manitoba to share their knowledge of the industry. Despite the language barrier, because of his passion for the industry, Gervais was always successful at “attracting people” to “talk bison.”
Gervais was a founding member of the Canadian Bison Association (CBA). Gervais saw the tremendous benefit of being an active part of the National Organization. Gervais was a strong supporter of Canadian Bison Association activities including the conventions, shows, and sales. Having the Quebec Bison Association come under the umbrella of the Canadian Bison Association was considered one of his biggest accomplishments at that time. He was responsible for working on the Canadian Bison Association Constitution and drafted it in both English and French. He was also a major proponent of the Bison Registry which continues to be in place today.
In 1987 when the Canadian bison industry moved its convention to different parts of Canada, Gervais organized a very successful National Bison Convention in Sherbrooke Quebec.
Gervais also organized a tour of Eastern Canadians in 1994 to attend the 12th Annual Convention and Show and Sale in Regina Saskatchewan. This was arranged for producers to see the bison industry activities in Western Canada as he was planning a bison show and sale in Eastern Canada the following year.
He saw the success of the bison shows and sales in Denver Colorado, Regina Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, Alberta and in 1995 organized the 1st Annual Bison Show and Sale for Eastern Canada. When he organized the sale, he categorized the Show and Sale “as a commercial and social activity where the bison are rated by competent and renowned judges and sold at a public auction. The sales allow the breeder to get the maximum price for his animal since many buyers follow the shows and sales in search of high-quality bison. Because the prices set at the Show and Sale are higher, the market can benefit from the higher prices”. At the event there was a seminar given by the judges which was followed by a banquet where it is estimated there were almost 500 guests.
The event was titled the “Bison World Fair” with 120 animals being sold with the Auction taking place in both French and English. This was followed by a similar event in 1996 and subsequent years. At that event there was a prestigious award titled “Order of Grand Bisoneers of America was given to recognize bison industry leaders at that time. Those who have received this award included Gervais Bisson.
Gervais was certainly a visionary. He worked hard to have bison at the Toronto Winter Fair – the largest livestock show in Eastern Canada. Although this did not materialize, his passion and motivation for the industry was further energized.
Gervais was a member of the Canadian Bison Association Committee that selected the Canadian Bison Association office to be in Regina Saskatchewan – a very difficult industry decision but based on its location next to Agribition – Canada largest livestock event, it has served the industry well.
Gervais was a founding member of the Canadian and Quebec Bison Associations. He served as Chair and President of the Canadian Bison Association from 1987 to 1990. Gervais served on the Canadian Bison Association Board on two different occasions for at total of 17 years.
He also served on the Board of the Quebec Bison Association for 17 years with five years as Board Chair.
Beginning in 1987, Gervais worked with producers, exporters and the Governments of France and Canada and exported the first live bison into France as well as bison meat products from Canada.
For all his work for the industry, Gervais was the first recipient of the Myrt Lenton Award. This award was established in recognition of the tireless effort of members to contribute to the industry’s success.
Gervais was a member of the committee that organized the International Bison Convention (IBC) in Edmonton in 2000. Based on its success, Gervais had a great passion to host the next Canadian event in Quebec City. As chair of the IBC 2012 Committee, he led the organization of a very successful event attracting bison enthusiasts from throughout North America and Europe. One indication of his dedication to the success of the event, to promote the raffle of a Can Am Spyder, he rode a comparable motorcycle across Canada in the fall of 2011 stopping at regional events and selling tickets while promoting IBC 2012. He parked the motorcycle in Western Canada and returned in the Spring of 2012 and promoted IBC 2012 on his return to Quebec. Gervais was also a major financial sponsor which contributed significantly to attracting other sponsors and IBC 2012’s success.
Gervais is a supporter of all associations in Canada through a membership and through participating in meetings from Coast to Coast. The Canadian Bison Association has held 38 annual conventions and Gervais has attended them all – should certainly be included in the Bison Book of Records. He also supports regional associations and the Canadian Bison Association through aggressive bidding at fun auctions. On many occasions he would have the winning bid and re-donate his purchase to contribute to the excitement and the financial success of the event.
Gervais continues to be an active producer and an active association member and provides industry services through his company Bison Amerik.
The strength of the bison industry in Canada is due in part to Gervais Bisson’s vision for the industry in Canada. Because of his passion, he continues to be recognized by all bison producers in Canada and many in the United States. He continues to be a great ambassador for the industry locally, nationally, and internationally. In summary Gervais Bisson’s achievements are:
Considered one of the Bison Industry pioneers in Canada
- At the early stages of bison business, he invited the best in the business to share their knowledge with producers and potential producers in Eastern Canada
- He was a founding member of the Canadian Bison Association
- Served as chair of Canadian Bison Association Board from 1987 -1990 and served on Board for 17 years in total over two different periods
- Gervais was a founding Member of the Quebec Bison Association
- Chaired the Quebec Bison Association for five years and served on the Board for 17 years
- One of his greatest early achievements was to bring the Quebec Association under the umbrella of the Canadian Bison Association
- He was on the committee that drafted the Canadian Constitution, and he translated the document for Quebec Members
- Gervais provided leadership in organizing producers, exporters and the governments of Canada and France to export meat and live bison to France
- Organized tours for Eastern Canadian Producers to see Western Canadian Bison Production
- Organized the first Bison Show and Sale in Eastern Canada in 1995 and the four following years
- Organized a Canadian Bison Association National Convention in Sherbrooke Quebec
- Served on the IBC 2000 Planning Committee
- Chaired IBC 2012 and brought the convention to Quebec City
- Strong supporter of bison industry events locally, nationally, and internationally
- Attended all 38 annual conventions to date
- Through his company Bison Amerik, he continues to design and build bison handling facilities and encourage producers to get into the industry
- Serves as a mentor to many.
Gervais Bisson is a visionary in the bison industry. He tackles his project in the industry with passion and through his leadership attracts the support of many. Failure is not an option. Gervais is the person many think of when you hear the phrase “No Problem” he believes that with enough effort anything can be accomplished.
– Terry Kremeniuk Canadian Bison Association