The blog post I get most calls from is a 2-year old article about working cattle ranches for sale on the Big Island. Although that article focused on Hamakua Coast ranch properties, I recently listed a 485-acre parcel in North Kohala near the end of the road at Polulu Valley that is partially used for cattle ranching.
Another section until recently was licensed to young farmers. And before that, the western section was an eco-tourism destination. Which explains why, so far, I’ve had showings for prospective buyers looking for a working cattle ranch, for a big agricultural property, for an eco-tourism business, and for a historic legacy land banking purchase in Hawai’i.
Horses and mule enjoy big ocean views from this 485 acre ranch and farm property (MLS# 263044)
Ranch, Farm, Contribute to North Kohala’s Goal of Food Self-Sufficiency
The 485-acre property is bounded by large gulches on the West and East, by the Kohala Ditch on the North (makai or ocean) side, and by forest preserve on the South or “mauka” side. There is another gulch separating approximately the Eastern third of the property from the rest, and that is the portion currently operating as a cattle ranch.
Aerial view of ranched section showing cattle to right and catchment pond…gulch to right is Eastern boundary; flat areas to left are all part of this property
Although it still comes as a surprise to many visitors that cattle ranching is an important industry in Hawai’i, three of the 20 largest cow-calf operations in the United States are right here on the Big Island. In addition, many local ranching families raise cattle on their own small ranches, or on parcels leased or licensed from other large landowners, as is the case on this property.
Center section has various farm buildings and a shade house; photovoltaic system, water – but no permits
The center section of this property has a number of structures (for which no permits exist) and until recently was licensed to a group of young farmers, who primarily sold their produce at the weekly Hawi farmer’s market.
It is no accident that many larger landholders here in Hawai’i are choosing permaculture or food-forest systems (similar to the old Hawaiian land use systems) rather than monoculture production (like the sugar cane and pineapple plantations of more recent years past), or that ranchers are choosing rotational grazing and multi-species grazing systems for optimal pasture management.
These state-of-the-art practices are old wisdom for people who live on an island and therefore cannot simply move on to still-rich lands if they exhaust their land’s fertility. If you are interested in having a ranch or farm, but not in doing the work yourself, there are people with talent and experience, familiar with local conditions, and available right here in North Kohala.
Preserve a Legacy in Historic North Kohala
Yes, the 485-acre property also has a number of waterfalls and swimming holes
Someone asked me what I personally would do with this beautiful property if I had the $3.5 million purchase price. Often when I am advising landowners informally on the use of their property, I ask them the question, “What does the land want?”
I think this land wants to be productive. I think it wants to have invasive species controlled and to be cared for by people whose hearts are touched by its beauty. I don’t think it wants to be divided into 20-acre parcels, although that is what Ag-20 zoning would allow.
If it were my land, I’d think about the fact that this area is of tremendous historic significance as part of the Halawa district where the family lands of King Kamehameha I were located. According to research on the Kohala Zipline website, a document in the Bishop Museum that states in Waipunalau, an upland area of streams and springs, at a taro patch between two falls, “Kamehameha was fed luau of young taro leaves, cooked, and other vegetable food.” I’d think about preserving that legacy.
A hui hou,
Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)