Partnership between Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative strengthens Hawaii’s beef supply
Feb 12, 2021
With a goal of bolstering Hawaii’s local food distribution infrastructure, Ulupono Initiative and the island of Hawaii’s Parker Ranch are creating partnership opportunities for ranchers statewide to participate in the beef supply chain of Paniolo Cattle Co.
Founded in 2014, Hawaii Island-based Paniolo Cattle Co. is one of the largest grass-fed beef operations in the state. Since opening, its cattle has been supplied solely by Parker Ranch. However, with their new partnership program in place, Ulupono Initiative and Parker Ranch are looking to support ranchers statewide by increasing their ability to supply grocers on their home islands. Their efforts are expected to help strengthen food security and resilience statewide, aiding Hawaii’s pandemic-disrupted food distribution networks and minimizing environmental impact from interisland transportation.
“This program will increase access to locally raised beef for local communities,” said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative and a board member of Paniolo Cattle Co. “Our goal is to create a holistic program that integrates the various interests to form a common approach to serve Hawaii customers. During the pandemic, it has 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.”
Each of the Hawaiian islands offers its own unique ranching ecosystem with its own market dynamics, needs and industry players. By opening up its supply chain to other beef producers statewide, Paniolo Cattle Co. will be able to complement its own operations by connecting local ranchers with local grocery stores on each island. This diversified cooperative program also has the capacity to provide relief when market supply and demand on a particular island may be experiencing temporary disruptions.
“After seven years of success, and five years of a statewide market presence, we look forward to inviting other producers on each island to join the program,” said Dutch Kuyper, president of Parker Ranch and a Paniolo Cattle Co. board member. “Our goal is for up to 50 percent of the supply to be provided by other ranches on every island. These ranches must meet certain guidelines, including consistency and grading requirements.”
On Parker Ranch’s partnership with Ulupono, Kuyper added: “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.”
Paniolo Cattle Co. is a joint-venture partnership between Ulupono Initiative and Parker Ranch to foster statewide local beef production. Its pasture-to-plate enterprise taps into Hawaii’s growing demand for high-quality, affordable, locally raised beef.