This heartfelt and often personal work continues the story of the Big Island’s Parker Ranch, one of the largest and most beautiful cattle ranches in the United States. It begins with the dynastic transition in ranch management from the formidable A. W. Carter to his son, Hartwell, who would be responsible for bringing the ranch effectively into the twentieth century. Although supervision of the ranch officially changed hands in 1937, A. W.’s wide-ranging influence continued to be felt for at least another decade. Later Hartwell Carter would also have to contend with the whims of ranch owner Richard Smart, who returned to the Islands in 1959, eager to take direct control of his estate. Under Carter’s stewardship, Parker Ranch raised its cow herd size by fifty percent and, through its subsidiary, Hawaii Meat Company, converted its beef marketing from a range-finished animal to a feedlot-confined, corn-fed, marbled carcass acceptable to the modern housewife. Hartwell Carter was followed by his assistant, Richard (Dick) Penhallow, as ranch manager in 1960. Penhallow’s tenure is given a detailed overview that illuminates his ambitious goals for improvements in water, land, livestock, personnel development, and the economics of the beef industry. Although Penhallow’s grand scheme for reorganizing an inefficient and divided industry into a single cooperative using state-of-the-art facilities ultimately failed, the subsequent history of beef marketing in the Islands bears out the soundness and wisdom of his ideas. In 1962 Smart selected Radcliffe (Rally) Greenwell as Penhallow’s successor. The new ranch manager arrived with strong, traditional values of stewardship handed down from generations of Kona ranchers. Greenwell’s initiatives were clear: to further enhance water development and increase the cow herd by thirty percent. He also instituted research to determine the cause of a scourge among young cattle called yellow calf syndrome. As the nine-year management of Greenwell unfolds, the book offers a close look at the leadership team of the era, which included Harry Kawai, John Kawamoto, Willie Kaniho, Yutaka Kimura, John Lekelesa, and Harry Ah Fong Ah Sam. The author, who became ranch veterinarian in 1970, also provides personal insights in the later sections of the book into the use of the element copper to greatly enhance the growth and health of cattle and the birth and expansion of the ranch’s Animal Health Program. The work concludes with the introduction of the mainland management team of Rubel and Lent, whose attempt to return to a pyramidal management structure took Parker Ranch by storm.
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