New Maui Partnership Assists Local Ranches While Providing Food to Those in Need
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino announced today a new CARES Act funded partnership with local ranchers to provide ground beef to Feed My Sheep and people in need.
The County has committed $200,000 to support the ranching community, which includes the purchase of cattle from various independent ranchers. DeCoite Packing House will process the cattle into approximately 1,000 pounds of ground beef, per week.
Feed My Sheep will receive the ground beef and distribute to qualified individuals, nonprofit agencies and community feeding programs.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have helped many of our local farmers remain in business, while also providing produce to our families and keiki,” said Mayor Victorino. “This new partnership will now assist our ranchers, who have also been greatly impacted by COVID-19, by providing food to our people.”
The partnership, which may run through the end of November, also includes Diamond B Ranch and support from the University of Hawaiʻi, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Kahului Extension Office.
Brendan Balthazar, owner of Diamond B Ranch in Makawao, thanked the Mayor for supporting the ranching community saying, “We’ve already produced over 17,000 pounds of beef for this program, and look forward to continue helping our small ranches and people in need.”
Joyce Kawakami, founder and CEO of Feed My Sheep, called it a “superb way to get good quality protein to the thousands who are financially struggling on Maui while at the same time putting needed financial resources back into our depressed economy by purchasing local beef.” She called it a “win-win partnership for Maui in every possible way.”
“This pandemic has brought hardships and empty shelves in many of our stores. But I can assure you that empty pastures and farms are much scarier for Maui County’s future,” said Kyle Caires, UH CTAHR faculty. “Programs like these help Maui County’s farmers and ranchers stay in business to meet our community’s food needs.”
Ranchers who are interested in participating in the program may contact Brendan Balthazar at 281-1723.