Molokai Ranch Returns to Ranching Roots
By Clay R. Rumbaoa, Molokai Ranch CEO
Editor’s note: This is a letter reprinted with permission from the winter issue of Molokai Ranch’s quarterly newsletter.
Aloha & Comosta Molokai, These last few months have been a whirlwind of activity at Molokai Ranch, as we move forward with many of the initiatives I outlined in our last newsletter [the four pillars: animal husbandry, sustainable farming, renewable energy and green improvements]. First and foremost, we officially returned to our ranching and agricultural roots with the reintroduction of cattle operations.
Our intention is to raise and breed high-quality grass-fed and finished cattle for consumption in Hawaii. Toward this end, we have partnered with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to breed cattle in a way that not only fits Molokai’s climate but also ensures the highest quality beef. The cattle will be processed on island and the beef will be supplied to Molokai and the neighboring islands.
We’ve also announced plans to launch a new piggery for which we will be pursuing natural farming, a new approach that cuts down on water use and odors, and eliminates waste. Similar to our cattle operations, we will raise and breed high-quality pigs for island and statewide consumption.
We’re excited about the opportunity to work with Jack Spruance, General Manager of the Molokai Livestock Cooperative, to bring our products to State and local residents. He has done a great job in raising the profile of Molokai’s quality beef not only on the island but also to the rest of Hawaii with the expanded distribution to Foodland. This has increased his production and has allowed him to hire more people.
As we continue to look toward the future, we will be focusing our efforts on the second of our “Four Pillars”: Sustainable Agriculture. Farming is not new to Molokai Ranch or the island of Molokai. Farming, if done properly, can have many benefits for the land and the people. Erosion can be controlled and minimized, undesirable vegetation can be eliminated, and soil quality can be improved with the introduction of proper nutrients.
In Maunaloa Town, we are looking at setting aside some land for community farming, allowing residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables. We’re also exploring other crops that can be grown to yield clean fuels, like biodiesel, for use in our vehicles, power plants, and aviation in an effort to wean our state off of fossil fuel. Byproducts of the bio diesel fuels will also be utilized as feed for livestock, minimizing waste.
Molokai Ranch has desirable farmland, but we recognize there is other land on the island that would be attractive for growing clean fuel crops. As such, we’re open to establishing cooperative agreements with other land owners to partner and develop an even stronger alliance to serve our people and other business ventures that are in need of biomass.
We are open to other ideas and ventures and would love to hear from you. We now have a Molokai Ranch website, MolokaiRanch.com, where you can drop us a line or email your contact information to start the conversation.
Hopefully everyone had a Merry Christmas and your 2013 is off to a great start!