WAIMEA, Hawaii: A research trial designed to study large-scale grass-fed beef production on the Big Island of Hawaii will begin in September 2012.
The trial is a joint effort between Parker Ranch, one of the largest and oldest cattle ranches in the United States, and the Ulupono Initiative, an investment firm focused on locally produced food, renewable energy, and waste reduction.
The trials will follow 200 head of cattle on a test area of 300 acres from September through May 2013.
According to a joint media release, Parker Ranch believes that its local grass-fed beef program could reach 2,500 to 4,000 head per year in annual production, if the results of the trials prove successful. The ranch says it could use its existing pasture and reallocate a measurable portion of its grazing capacity to grass finishing.
Parker Ranch is already the largest producer of grass-fed ground beef in Hawaii. With significant expansion, the company says it could make a greater variety of grass-fed retail cuts available to Hawaii consumers.
“We are very focused on developing our local grass-fed beef program. this is important on many fronts, especially to develop a strategic hedge within our business against the risk of rising energy prices in the future. Also, a significant increase in local production should help us build our brand even further. This local product strategy should ensure that we have the capacity to produce high quality and consistent market cattle in Hawaii at a competitive price. Shifting a meaningful portion of our operations in this new direction should prove beneficial for us as a producer as well as for the Hawaii consumer. We are excited to be partnering with Ulupono in exploring this commercial scale opportunity together – a partnership with many other possible opportunities to work together in the future”. – Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch, via media release
“Ulupono believes ranching is a fundamental cornerstone of Hawaii’s agricultural sector. It is an honor for us to partner with Parker Ranch, one of our state’s most venerable institutions, to support the pre-commercialization trials of large-scale grass-fed beef. Allocating pasture from cow-calf operations to increased grass-finished beef production should place Hawaii’s ranching industry on a more secure economic footing, ushering in a prosperous future that would attract reinvestment in our state’s ranches for local beef production. Parker Ranch’s leadership is essential to help inspire other Hawaii ranchers to consider grass-fed as an option. As more ranchers adopt grass-fed methods, we believe the tangible benefit will be an increase in the availability of high-quality local beef that everyone can afford”. – Kyle Datta, general partner for Ulupono Initiative.