Hawaii’s ranchersAfter several years of drought, Hawaii’s ranchers are still recovering but are looking to keep more beef production in the islands. According to local ranchers, 80 percent of the state’s calves are shipped to pastures on the mainland.
“We currently supply less than 10 percent of the beef consumed in Hawaii. A lot of our cattle are going out of state. We would like to keep more of those cattle in state,” said Alan Gottlieb, with the H , reports KITV news. “If we don’t support our local agriculture, what’s going to happen if there’s a tsunami and we wipe out our ports and we don't have food coming in here for a number of weeks, months.”
Also working against the ranchers is the lack of free range for ranches to expand, and the fact that the state doesn’t have the infrastructure to process local beef.
“If Oahu, which has a million people, doesn’t have a sustainable slaughterhouse, the cost of beef and pork and other slaughtered animals rises exponentially,” said Sen. Clayton Hee.
The House Agriculture Committee passed a bill which would give the state ownership of a slaughterhouse in Kapolei. The measure now goes to the House Finance committee for its final hearing.