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Elk Farming

A Natural
For Manitoba

Welcome to 
Manitoba Elk
Growers Association

The Manitoba Elk Growers Association represents the producers and processors of farmed and ranched elk and elk products in Manitoba. First formed in the 1980s, the Association has worked continuously with producers, government regulators and industry promoters to improve its services and representations and advance the industry. We have faced and dealt with many challenges in those years, but we still have 21 producers in the Province as of July 2020, with 1200 elk on their farms and good markets for our products.  

The Manitoba elk farming industry began with elk from the wild in Manitoba. “Game Farm zoos” and First Nations harvesters captured the earliest farmed elk in the 1970s. Stock came from Riding and Duck Mountain areas, and some of those elk turned out to be very influential in developing the industry throughout the world with international trade in live offspring and semen. In the late 1990s, this base was augmented by a Provincial Government program to capture and remove elk from areas in the wild where depredation on agricultural crops was occurring. Those elk were sold at current market prices to beginning elk farmers everywhere in Manitoba. The Program was very controversial and lasted only a few short years.

No further live capture or removal from the wild was or is allowed. Producers have significantly improved their starter herds with semen from the best sires in the worldwide elk industry. Because the industry began with whatever genetics could survive in the wild, advances in production and suitability for farm husbandry have been truly dramatic. 

Regulation of the industry began with extreme caution and tight regulation. There were many concerns regarding the possible impacts on wildlife and other livestock. Good management and the best standards of care and health management have calmed those concerns. Today, elk are accepted as a safe and profitable type of livestock. All the original elk were tested for red deer genes, and neither red deer livestock nor genetics are allowed to be imported or used in Manitoba.  All farmed elk have been and are tested regularly for Tuberculosis, Brucellosis and Chronic Wasting Disease, and no farmed elk have ever been found positive for any of those diseases in Manitoba.