Parker Ranch and local investment firm Ulupono Initiative will jointly fund research into large-scale grass-fed beef production on Hawaii island.
The trials will involve 200 head of cattle on 300 acres from September through May of 2013.
“This local product strategy should ensure that we have the capacity to produce high quality and consistent market cattle in Hawaii at a competitive price,” said Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch, in a statement.
“It is an honor for us to partner with Parker Ranch … to support the pre-commercialization trials of large-scale grass-fed beef,” said Kyle Datta, Ulupono general partner.
Kickoff of Lokahi Giving Project slated
Before the 40-foot Monterey Cypress could be felled Monday morning, master woodworker Ski Kwiatkowski talked to it, shared the plan and asked the tree’s permission.
The 80-year-old tree in Puu Pueo, an area owned by Parker Ranch along Mana Road, is the centerpiece of Waimea’s holiday season. It is part of the town’s effort to commemorate Christmases past and ignite traditions.
Profits rise despite drought, economy After a rough 2008, much ground regained Wise investments offset losses
After two years of multimillion dollar losses, Parker Ranch Foundation Trust made money last year and now wants to raise more by hosting special events at its Waimea rodeo arena.
Revenues and net assets were up in 2009, while operating costs were reduced by the trust, which owns Parker Ranch, one of the nation’s oldest and largest cattle ranches.
However, cattle sales remained in the red, while several other income sources were down in 2009 compared with the prior year, according to the trust’s recently released 2009 annual report.
“Global events have continued to raise uncertainty about the economic outlook, and the drought in West Hawaii has exacerbated the local challenges for the Big Island ranching community,” the five trustees wrote in the document. “Nonetheless, Parker Ranch Foundation Trust has accomplished a great deal during the last year.”
Chief among them was going from an $18 million operating loss in 2008 to a $5.1 million profit last year. That financial turnaround helped boost total assets to $283.8 million by year’s end, up $5 million from the close of 2008.
Michael Saalfeld, a German industrialist and biofuel pioneer, has purchased the North Kohala acreage Parker Ranch quietly sold in August, according to government records.
One of Saalfeld’s many companies, Kukuipahu Makai, paid $49.3 million for 35 parcels comprising 3,509 acres, according to Hawaii County tax records.
The state’s business registry lists Saalfeld and his wife, Jeannette, as the company’s only members.
Located on both sides of Akoni Pule Highway, the contiguous parcels extend from Mahukona Beach Park north nearly to Puakea Bay Ranch. They range in size from less than an acre to a 1,681-acre parcel.
Tremendous secrecy has surrounded both the sale and Saalfeld, who owns other large tracts of land and Big Island companies.
Rather than offering its property on the open market, Parker Ranch in August 2009 sent a “confidential information memorandum” to a small group of prospective buyers. Each recipient “will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement,” according to the document from then-CEO William “Bill” Maris. He was let go last month after less than a year in that position.
In August, Parker Ranch issued a one-page letter to employees, retirees and ohana confirming the sale of roughly 3 percent of its 128,000-acre holdings.