Mahi Pono Enters Majority Partnership with Maui Cattle Company

February 20, 2020, 9:40 AM HST · Updated February 21, 6:02 PM
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Maui cattle. PC: (file courtesy) Alexander & Baldwin.

Mahi Pono today announced that it has become the majority partner of Maui Cattle Company, a kamaʻāina company.  Company representatives say the partnership represents the collaborative efforts of long-time, family-owned ranches on Maui that include Haleakalā Ranch, ʻUlupalakua Ranch, Nobriga Ranch, Kaupō Ranch and Hāna Ranch.

All five of the independently-owned ranches will continue to be equity owners in Maui Cattle Company, and there will be no immediate changes to operations or employees, according to the announcement.

“At Mahi Pono, we are constantly exploring opportunities to help Hawaiʻi reduce its dependence on imported food. In addition to growing local produce at our Maui farm, having a consistent supply of locally-raised and finished beef will help our island take a step closer to achieving food security,” said Shan Tsutsui, senior vice president for operations of Mahi Pono.

“We have been so impressed with the experience and knowledge of the ranchers and their operations, as well as their commitment to sustainability, the environment and desire to produce food for our community. We share the same beliefs and are proud to partner with them. At Mahi Pono, we want to ensure that ranching continues to be an active part of our island heritage while working to ensure that locally-produced beef is successful on Maui,” said Tsutsui.

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Collectively, the five Maui-ranches operate on approximately 50,000 acres of land. In 2009, ʻUlupalakua Ranch signed over more than 11,000 acres of land to the Maui Coastal Land Trust, ensuring that the land will be preserved in perpetuity. At the time, it created the state’s largest conservation easement.

“This new partnership with Mahi Pono is good news for Maui’s ranching industry. It will allow us to continue doing what we have done for generations and hopefully even increase the production and distribution of Maui-grown and grazed beef,” said Alex Franco, president of Maui Cattle Company. “In addition to knowing where your meat comes from, the benefit of locally-grazed and finished beef is a product that’s leaner and provides more health benefits than conventionally-raised products imported from out-of-state.”

The five Maui-ranches will sell their calves to Mahi Pono’s Kulolio Ranch where they will graze and forage until mature. Once the cattle are fully mature, they will be transferred to Maui Cattle Company for processing in compliance with strictest of industry standards and then prepared for distribution. Currently, Maui Cattle Company markets more than 10,000 pounds of Maui-beef each week.

Through this agreement, Mahi Pono will also become the new owner of Maui Cattle Company’s slaughterhouse and USDA certified processing facility.

“Currently local beef production only accounts for about 6 percent of what is consumed in Hawaii, which means 94 percent of our beef is imported. Our long-term goal is to increase the acres of pasture land at Kulolio Ranch and expand cold storage facilities at the slaughterhouse, allowing for more local, Maui- beef and help to reduce our dependence on imports,” added Tsutsui.

Mahi Pono purchased approximately 41,000 acres of agricultural farm land from A&B in December of 2018 and has been working to plant diversified agriculture crops on the former sugar cane land.

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