KAMUELA, Hawaii — Paniolo Cattle Company, one of the largest local grass-fed beef programs in the state of Hawaii, will explore diversifying the supply of cattle to include ranchers on each island to supply stores within their on-island communities. This effort will help bolster food security infrastructure statewide, which is of particular importance given pandemic-disrupted food distribution networks, while also minimizing environmental impact from and reliance on interisland transportation.
“This move will increase access to locally raised beef for local communities. Our goal is to create a holistic program that integrates the various interests to form a common approach to serve Hawaii customers,” said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative and Paniolo Cattle Company board member. “During the pandemic, it’s become abundantly clear that a self-sufficient food system is critical to food security and resilience. We also wanted to demonstrate that the available forage was capable of resulting in healthy market cattle with the quality and consistency necessary to build a 52-week, year-round program.”
The demand for grass-fed beef has grown significantly in the last decade. The healthy attributes of natural, grass-fed beef are attractive to discerning consumers seeking a unique high-quality choice compared to imported beef from the mainland or elsewhere. The Paniolo Cattle Company has been supplied cattle solely by Parker Ranch since its founding in 2014.
“After seven years of success, and five years of a statewide market presence, we would like to invite other producers on each island to join the program. Our goal is for up to 50% of the supply to be provided by other ranches on every island, but they must meet certain guidelines including consistency and grading requirements,” said Dutch Kuyper, president of Parker Ranch and Paniolo Cattle Company board member.
Each island is a unique ecosystem with its own market dynamics, needs and industry players. By opening up to other producers, Paniolo Cattle Company can explore how the program could be complemented with local ranchers for the local grocery stores on each island.
“We see this as an important evolution of the business model to ensure its long run success and diversification of supply across the entire state of Hawaii,” Kuyper said.
Paniolo Cattle Company is a joint-venture partnership formed in 2014 between Ulupono Initiative and Parker Ranch to foster statewide local beef production. The pasture-to-plate enterprise taps into a growing demand for high-quality, affordable, locally raised beef.
About Parker Ranch
Parker Ranch is one of the largest and oldest cattle ranches in the United States. Parker Ranch Inc. is owned by Parker Ranch Foundation Trust whose beneficiaries are four non-profits: Queen’s North Hawai`i Community Hospital, Hawai`i Preparatory Academy, Parker School and Hawai`i Community Foundation. To learn more, please visit www.parkerranch.com or www.prft.org.
About Ulupono Initiative
A mission-driven venture of the Omidyar Group, Ulupono Initiative was founded in 2009 to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawaii by working toward sustainable solutions that support and promote locally produced food, renewable energy, clean transportation, and better management of freshwater and waste. For more information about Ulupono Initiative, visit ululpono.com.