Drought Crushes Local Beef Industry In Hawaii

National interest in locally grown food and grass-fed beef are catching on in Hawaii, offering ranchers an opportunity to sell cattle in the islands and send fewer of them to states like California and Kansas.

But crushing drought is making it difficult for Hawaii’s ranchers to keep enough cattle here to capitalize on the demand.

Rancher and veterinarian Dr. Tim Richards has been trying for six years to raise more cattle on his family’s century-old ranch.

He holds back some calves he previously would have sent to Oregon, Texas or elsewhere for final feeding, or “finishing.” But eight years of below-normal rainfall have left little grass for the cattle to eat.