Hawaiian couple buy assets from former Big Island dairy


HILO, Hawaii (AP) – Owners of a food distribution company in Hawaii have purchased the assets of a Hamakua dairy farm that closed several years ago.

Chad and Stephanie Buck of Oahu recently bought the assets of the former Big Island Dairy in hopes of supporting sustainable agriculture, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported last week.

The Bucks own and operate the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance, a food distribution and logistics company that distributes dairy and baked goods to grocery stores, clubs and convenience stores in Hawaii.

“Having recently experienced the dietary challenges that have been exposed by COVID and the lack of sustainable agriculture in Hawaii, we believe that this processing equipment, infrastructure and agricultural equipment should be kept, reused where possible and used in the future. benefit the community and Hawaii. ” Chad Buck wrote in a letter provided to the newspaper.

Big Island Dairy was located on land leased by the state. The Bucks are working with the state Department of Agriculture on a lease transfer request.

Buck said, however, that they were “committed not to replicate the industrial-size dairy operation of years past.”

Buck declined to comment on the purchase price of the assets and the cost of the lease.

The former owners of Big Island Dairy announced in 2018 that they would end dairy and milk processing activities on the Hamakua property. The dairy closed to settle a 2017 lawsuit filed by citizen groups alleging violations of the federal clean water law.

Buck wrote that the earth needs to heal. He said it could provide sustainable food and a place of community for the surrounding area.

Buck said an industrial dairy farm would not be suitable. He said he hoped to partner with agricultural advocates on the island of Hawaii “to develop a sustainable and environmentally friendly plan and operations to produce appropriate products in existing facilities.”

Buck said the number of dairy cattle will be limited. The current discussions focus on a grass-fed “boutique” farm with 200 head of cattle. Big Island Dairy had over 1,000 head on the property.

The operation is currently called Hamakua Ag Works, but well-known brands will be added once production begins. The goal is to go into production in 2022.

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