Hawaii Dairy Farms will be the state's first pasture-based dairy, located on Kauai's south shore. We are committed to producing fresh, nutritious milk for local families at prices everyone can afford.
Hawaii Dairy Farms is a positive step toward Hawaii’s food security, economic diversity, and sustainability. At steady-state, our farm will more than double existing local milk production, significantly reducing Hawaii’s reliance on imported milk from the mainland United States, which currently accounts for roughly 90 percent of our statewide supply. Our operations are based on the most successful island models in the world and will utilize a sustainable, pasture-based rotational grazing system and 21st century technology.
Until 1984, Hawaii produced 100 percent of its milk through local dairies. By 2008, costs for importing feed and other operational expenses had skyrocketed, causing nearly all of the local dairies to close. The two remaining dairies on the Big Island only produce about 9 percent of the state’s milk supply, leaving the rest to be imported.
More than six years ago, Kauai landowner Grove Farm recognized the tremendous void and began looking at how to restart the island's dairy industry. Grove Farm considered new dairy farming models (versus the traditional confinement dairies) and determined that New Zealand’s grass-fed model would be the cleanest, most cost-effective and sustainable method for Hawaii.
From 2010 to 2011, Grove Farm partnered with Finistere Ventures, Kamehameha Schools, Maui Land & Pineapple and Ulupono Initiative to conduct grass trials statewide to find the best site for a pasture-based dairy.
Kauai was found to be the optimal location and Mahaulepu valley was selected because of its Important Agricultural Land designation, growing conditions and access to required operational inputs.
In late 2013, Ulupono Initiative made the investment to fund Hawaii Dairy Farms.
Hawaii Dairy Farms is located on approximately 557 acres of Important Agricultural Lands in Mahaulepu, wrapping around the Haraguchi Taro Farm. The site is set back approximately 2.5 miles from populated areas. Hawaii Dairy Farms leases the land from Grove Farm. This map depicts the distance to key neighboring areas from the milking parlor where the effluent ponds will be located on the farm.
Hawaii Dairy Farms will provide many economic benefits for Hawaii including:
- Increasing statewide local milk production with roughly 1.5 million gallons of fresh milk per year at steady-state with up to 699 cows
- Approximately 11 direct and indirect full-time jobs, as well as 36 construction jobs and local supplier opportunities that will support farm operations on Kauai
- Herd management partnership opportunities for local ranchers
- Statewide distribution of more local milk at current market rates
- $17.5+ million investment in local food production without any government subsidies
- Community benefit investments in related causes through donations, as well as plans to work with 4-H and FFA to educate keiki about STEM-based agricultural jobs and animal husbandry
- First commercial use of Important Agricultural Lands on Kauai
- $6 million - $8 million annual operating expenditures to help support Kauai's economy
Hawaii Dairy Farms voluntarily prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is the highest environmental scrutiny, prior to construction of any dairy facilities on the farm. The document was withdrawn from the regulatory process and has been put on hold until further clarification from the State regulators. For more information on the EIS process, please visit the EIS page. There are no dairy cows at the farm and no milk is being produced at this time.
Hawaii Dairy Farms is proud to be part of the Kauai community as a member of:
- Contractors Association of Kauai
- Kauai Chamber of Commerce
- Kauai Economic Development Board
- Kauai County Farm Bureau
- Kauai Filipino Chamber of Commerce
- Kauai Planning & Action Alliance
Hawaii Dairy Farms is an investment of Ulupono Initiative and was formed as part of Ulupono’s mission to increase local food production and help revitalize Hawaii’s dairy industry. Founded in 2009, Ulupono Initiative is a Hawaii-focused impact investment firm that uses for-profit and non-profit investments to improve the quality of life for island residents in three key areas: more locally produced food, more renewable energy, and waste reduction. To learn more, visit Ulupono’s website.