Consortium Will Develop Grass-Fed Dairy Farms

Goal of the group is to develop local dairies in Hawaii.

Published on: Dec 30, 2011

In a move to develop new locally produced dairies and dairy products in Hawaii, a business consortium has been formed by four diverse companies to create Tropical Dairy Solutions, LLC.

The venture is backed by Dairy Solutionz (USA) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Solutionz (NZ) Ltd.; Ulupono Initiative LLC; Finistere Ventures, LLC; and Atlantic Dairy Consulting, LLC.

Tropical Dairy Solutions, LLC was formed to develop grass-fed dairy farms and processing facilities to produce a wide variety of dairy products in the state of Hawaii, including yogurt, cheese and ice cream.

Currently, the total amount of locally produced milk is less than 9 percent of the entire market with the rest imported from the Mainland.

The consortium aims to create sustainable dairy farms using proven, world-class methods that provide high quality, local dairy products at a competitive cost.

By drawing upon and adapting best practices from farm systems in New Zealand and the U.S., the consortium hopes to revitalize the dairy sector in Hawaii, where local dairies produced all of the state's milk until 1984.

The consortium is looking at several suitable sites statewide.

Dairy Solutionz, Ltd, a commercial consortium of established agricultural producers, would target starting Hawaii operations in 2013. Their extensive background combines technology and delivery capabilities to provide leading edge, cost competitive, sustainable farm and processing systems.

They design and build, or convert large-scale farm operations that adopt leading low-cost technologies and systems, and deliver support and education for ongoing farm and processing operations.

Their successful dairies around the world led them to want to bring the same technology and knowledge to Hawaii with the goal of creating successful dairy operations that can produce and process high-quality milk.

"Each of the partners is deeply committed to the success of a viable dairy industry for Hawaii," said Derek Fairweather, CEO of Dairy Solutionz (NZ) Ltd. "This is the next step in reinvigorating what some people saw as a small and declining industry, and reducing Hawaii's dependence on suppliers that are thousands of miles away. The investments will also create many new jobs, both on and off the farm, on the various islands where we plan to establish farming and processing operations."

"The long-term vision is to develop a sustainable, profitable dairy industry statewide based on farming the grass rather than relying on imported feed in an industrial agriculture model," said Kyle Datta, general partner of Ulupono Initiative LLC. "This vision could not have been achieved without the support of Kamehameha Schools, Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc., Grove Farm Company and Finistere Ventures, all of whom worked together with us for two years on the initial feasibility studies and grass trials."

He added, "Tropical Dairy Solutions LLC will use the grass trials to determine the optimal dairy sites and best approach to applying the pastoral system to Hawaii's many climates. Ultimately, the goal of this entire effort is to make high-quality local milk and milk products available to our community, at prices that we can all afford."

Tropical Dairy Solutions, LLC, is scheduled to open a Hawaii office in January 2012.