Site icon West Virginia Small Business Development Center

Riffle Farms: A Bison Farm in the Mountain State

Riffle Farms: A Bison Farm in the Mountain State

Riffle Farms raises grass-fed and finished bison tucked in the hills of Preston County. In the picturesque landscapes of Terra Alta, West Virginia, Liz Riffle, the proud owner of Riffle Farms, has carved out a unique niche in the agricultural scene by raising bison. 

Her journey into bison farming began with a personal quest for healthier, more sustainable food options. Liz, who worked as a bedside nurse (with her husband who is still in nursing), understood the vital link between good nutrition and overall well-being. She explains, “We were really picky about the health profile of what we eat. Basically, you are what you eat, you are what you put in, type thing.”

Bison, known for their lean meat and rich nutritional profile, quickly became the focal point of Riffle Farms. Liz highlights the benefits, “Bison has less fat than chicken, more protein than salmon, and actually more omega-three fatty acids than grass finished beef.” This dedication to quality and health resonates throughout Riffle Farms’ operations, making them pioneers as the first commercial bison operation in West Virginia. 

Liz is an animal lover first and foremost, and an agent for the natural community. She grew up as an equestrian, took lessons and trained horses across the country while working as an active duty U.S. Navy Nurse Corps nurse. She is committed to honest meat and changing the current meat processing system our Nation relies on. 

Despite Riffle Farms being a female and veteran owned small business, navigating the world of small business ownership, especially in a specialized industry like bison farming, comes with its challenges. 

Liz acknowledges the support they received from the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is a crucial resource for entrepreneurs. “The SBDC is one of those folks who really wanted to help us out from that perspective,” she shares. “It made a big difference for us because we could then be taken seriously from a lending perspective, which allowed us to expand our business.”

Frank Goldsborough, an SBDC Business Coach, commends Liz’s entrepreneurial spirit and the growth of Riffle Farms over the years. He emphasizes the importance of guidance for small business owners, stating, “You need somebody to be helping you with that and to guide you down that road because it could be a really tricky road if you don’t have some good guidance.”

In addition to being the first commercial bison operation in the MountainState, Riffle Farms is also the first farm business to field harvest their animals for state certified commercial sale, which is also how Liz’s second business, The Honest Carnivore – A WV Meat Collective, was born. Liz is also now a Savory Accredited Professional and teaches Holistic Management across the country.

Riffle Farms’ success story is not just about raising bison; it’s a testament to the resilience, vision, and collaboration that drive small businesses forward. Through partnerships with organizations like the SBDC, entrepreneurs like Liz Riffle are empowered to turn their dreams into thriving ventures, contributing to the vibrant fabric of West Virginia’s economy.

WV SBDC, is an accredited partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration and a division of the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, which helps small businesses at all stages of development by connecting owners to programs, resources and coaches. 

For more information about WV SBDC services and WV SBDC coaches, visit

Exit mobile version