Senate Panel Kills Beef Bill

Senators were concerned the bill, aimed at keeping one company from dominating the processing industry, was unconstitutional.


By Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat (HI)

February 17, 2021


A Senate committee on Wednesday effectively killed a bill intended to impose operating restrictions on an Idaho rancher who has acquired about 70% of Hawaii’s beef processing capacity.


Instead, Sen. Mike Gabbard, who chairs the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee, told the bill’s proponents and opponents to sit down and work things out.


“If no can, at least you tried,” Gabbard said.


The bill was sponsored by Big Island Sen. Lorraine Inouye but was written primarily by Parker Ranch’s president and chief executive, Dutch Kuyper. And the measure was meant to ensure brands like Parker Ranch’s Paniolo Cattle Co. and Kuahiwi Ranch’s beef have access to the Big Island facility operation acquired recently by Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot.


The bill would have set aside 50% of capacity for these other brands, and let VanderSloot use the other 50% for his brands.


VanderSloot also owns a large processing facility...


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