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.
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.
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.
Dr. Billy Bergin was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. He attended Kansas State University, where he received a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1967. Dr. Bergin went on to establish the first private large-animal veterinary hospital on the Big Island and served as chief veterinarian at Parker Ranch from 1970 to 1995. From 1971 to the present he has been a medical officer with the Livestock and Disease Control Division, State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.