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,” Mayor Victorino said. “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 Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Kahului Extension Office.
Brendan Balthazar, owner of Diamond B Ranch in Makawao, said: “We want to mahalo Mayor Victorino and the County for stepping up to help our ranching community during these tough times. 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, said: “What an amazing blessing this is for the Maui community; 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. This is a win-win partnership for Maui in every possible way.
Feed My Sheep financially qualifies the people they serve, assuring Mayor Victorino and Maui County that this beef is going to those who really need it.”
Kyle Caires, UH CTAHR Faculty, said: “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. 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.
Photo credit: County of Maui / Chris Sugidono