Maui News

Paniolo Cattle Company Working to Increase Access in Hawaiʻi to Locally Raised Beef

January 19, 2021, 10:48 AM HST
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Parker Ranch has been supply grass-fed cattle exclusively to Paniolo Cattle Company since 2014, but the partnership now is trying to add other Hawaiian cattle ranchers to the program. Photo Courtesy: Parker Ranch

Paniolo Cattle Company, one of the largest local grass-fed beef programs in the state of Hawaiʻi, will explore diversifying its supply to include cattle from ranchers on each island.

Paniolo Cattle Company is a joint-venture partnership formed in 2014 between Ulupono Initiative, an impact investment firm focusing on a sustainable Hawaiʻi, and Parker Ranch. The purpose is to foster statewide local beef production. The pasture-to-plate enterprise taps into a growing demand for high-quality, affordable, locally raised beef.

The Paniolo Cattle Company has been supplied cattle solely by Parker Ranch. But adding other suppliers will help bolster food security infrastructure statewide, which is of particular importance given pandemic-disrupted food distribution networks It also will minimize environmental impact from reliance on interisland transportation, a company news release said.

“This move will increase access to locally raised beef for local communities,” said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative and a Paniolo Cattle Company board member. “Our goal is to create a holistic program that integrates the various interests to form a common approach to serve Hawaiʻi customers.

“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.”

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Dutch Kuyper, president of Parker Ranch and a Paniolo Cattle Company board member, added: “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 percent of the supply to be provided by other ranches on every island, but they must meet certain guidelines including consistency and grading requirements.”

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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.


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