See how Hawaii beef farmers and ranchers are rethinking the ranch to raise sustainable beef through land-saving, wildlife-preserving, and award-winning environmental efforts.
Spanning 30,000 acres across Maui is Haleakala Ranch, owned by the Baldwin family and managed by Greg Friel. This ranch is steeped in Hawaiian history, as lands that were once part of the ranch are now part of Haleakala National Park, one of the first in the National Park system. To reach the park, millions of visitors each year must drive through Haleakala's ranch lands, and thus, preserving and improving the land is of top priority. One of the main ways they accomplish this is by utilizing rotational grazing of their cattle herds to control the spread of invasive species so detrimental to Hawaii's ecosystem. The ranch is also planting thousands of koa trees, and works with conservation partners to protect the local watershed and native rainforests. Each year, Haleakala Ranch hosts a variety of groups, including the Ag in the Classroom Program, which connects local schools with agriculture education programs. For their conservation work, the Haleakala Ranch was awarded the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP).
"In Hawaii we use this term 'kuleana.' To me, what it means is a professional and a personal responsibility to manage a certain way; and it's professional in that it's our job, but it's personal in that it's just something you feel that it's important to do." - Greg Friel, Manager of Livestock Operations, Haleakala Ranch
Meet Jimmy Greenwell of Palani Ranch on the island of Hawaii. He says, "Our goal is to pass on the land to the next generations in better shape than we found it. There are a lot of benefits that flow from grazing lands like ours to the broader community including their scenic value, cultural significance, carbon sequestration qualities, habitat preservation and watershed value."
Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, one thing remains constant – the shared commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way by using the latest technology and resources. For Hawaii’s ranching families, the land is not just where they raise cattle; it's also where they raise their families. They have a personal stake in the quality of their environment - so they are always looking for new ways to improve the air, water and land on and near their property.
Cowboys in Hawaii are known as paniolo, due to the original cowboys in Hawaii coming from Mexico and speaking Spanish.