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Maui ranch honored for environmental stewardship

By Staff | Aug 16, 2018

From left, Greg Friel, Susie Baldwin, Peter Baldwin and Jordan Jokiel accept the award for Haleakala Ranch in Denver, Colorado.

MAKAWAO – Haleakala Ranch in Makawao has been selected as one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP).

The award, announced during the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting on Aug. 1 in Denver, Colorado, recognizes the operation’s outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts.

This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans in February 2019.

Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, McDonald’s, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

“Cattlemen and women everywhere understand that the land, air and water resources in their care are the cornerstone of their success, and they are only stewards of those resources for a short time,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester.

“Each of us understands the importance of improving those resources and leaving them better for future generations. This year’s nominees are outstanding examples of what is possible for the beef industry, and they serve as an inspiration for producers everywhere to continue improving their stewardship practices.”

Owned by the Baldwin family for nearly six generations, Haleakala Ranch is a family held corporation with about 100 shareholders that are all family members.

The ranch covers nearly 30,000 acres on Maui. Over time the ranch has evolved, and lands that once belonged to Haleakala Ranch are now part of Haleakala National Park, with nearly one million visitors annually traveling through the ranch to get to the summit of Haleakala.

“In the late 1920s, there was an exchange, and that beautiful, world-class crater area was conveyed to become a national park,” said Jordan Jokiel, a land manager for Haleakala Ranch. “To me, that speaks to the commitment and history of land stewardship at Haleakala Ranch.”

Haleakala Ranch covers a diverse climate, with some of the herd of 1,200 cattle foraging in drier country near the ocean, while other parts of the herd are rotated through mountain pastures at higher elevations.

Cattle and rotational grazing play a key role in the fight against a wide variety of invasive species on Maui.

“Gorse is a weed in Hawaii. It’s native to Western Europe and the British Isles and was brought in the late 1800s to Hawaii. Like everything else, the genie got out of the bottle once it arrived to Hawaii, and it’s spread across Haleakala Ranch, covering a couple thousand acres of high-quality pasture.”

The team at Haleakala Ranch works with conservation partners to protect the watershed and improve their natural resources, including restoring native rainforests.

Haleakala Ranch is also a member of the Maui Cattle Company, finishing their cattle to be sold as local beef.

Each year, the ranch hosts a variety of groups, including the Ag in the Classroom program.

“It’s a very important program that Haleakala Ranch and the rest of the community gets involved with, because these kids are very disconnected from where their food comes from,” said Greg Friel, livestock operations at Haleakala Ranch, “and the more we can get involved with exposing them to [the ranch], the better it is for them and for us as the agriculture community.”

“The family has the same goals that I have,” said Friel.

“They want to see this ranch get better and better every year. We just celebrated 130 years of this ranch being founded. We’re looking forward to that 150th anniversary and that 200th anniversary.”