Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
When John Hooper first started raising yaks 13 years ago, he didn't realize there were no tame animals to be found in North America. He's worked to tame his yak herd and as a result he's been gaining notoriety.
"I market the meat at farmers markets, restaurants, food co-ops and direct from the farm," says Hooper. "I've brought yaks to community events and fairs and my tame, full-blooded yaks have been sold from coast to coast."
Hooper, of rural Cold Spring, recently was named the recipient of the Commissioner's Good Farm Neighbor Award from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. He says good animal care and nutrition are important to the health of his animals and to the quality of the meat.
"I have about 90 head of yak that graze on grass in the summer and are fed hay and oats in the winter," said Hooper. "I try to produce healthy, low fat, low cholesterol meat that is tender and tasty. I do this by raising the yak on pasture at least 6 months out of the year and trying to raise them in a healthy and humane manner."
Winners of the MDA's Good Farm Neighbor Award are selected by a committee representing the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the MDA.
Nominations can be e-mailed to
or mailed to Good Farm Neighbor Award, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 North Robert Street, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55155. A nomination form can be downloaded at www.mda.state.mn.us/news/publications/aboutmda/goodneighboraward.pdf.