Loyal to the Land: The Legendary Parker Ranch, 1970–1992, Volume 3, Agents of Change
- About the Book
Located in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Parker Ranch is not only one of the country’s largest cattle ranches but also one of the oldest and most historic. This third volume of Loyal to the Land: The Legendary Parker Ranch continues the history of the ranch and chronicles the transition of its management into the hands of mainlanders Gordon Lent and Jack Rubel. This was a significant departure from past practice and marked the beginning of two decades in which dramatic redirection occurred.
As a close observer and active participant in ranch operations during this period, Dr. Billy Bergin provides a first-hand account of the events of that time. His personal insight is supported by almost 200 photographs that deftly move the reader through twenty years of life on the ranch. He describes the management influences of Lent and Rubel, who envisioned guiding the ranch to greater levels of production and economic solvency, as well as the years of Don Hanson and Walter Slater.
Ranch management soon shifted back to men of Hawai‘i when Charlie Kimura, David Ramos, and Robby Hind assumed leadership. During his successful tenure, Robby Hind launched a new initiative exporting cattle to mainland markets through Canada. This bold move enabled Parker Ranch to export its entire calf crop—nearly twelve thousand calves—to the continental United States after the closure of the Hawai‘i Meat Company and Hawai‘i Milling Corporation feedlot complex on Oʻahu. This changed the way cattle were marketed in Hawai‘i for the ensuing decades.
With the deteriorating health of ranch owner Richard Smart, a decline in stewardship became evident as trustees imposed directives that put the ranch at risk. Disenchanted by the perceived lack of reasonable stewardship of ranch resources—physical, animal, and human—employees yearned for a return to the good years. The passing of Richard Smart, challenges to his will by his sons Antony and Gilliard, tax burdens, and less-than-ideal industry factors further encumbered the mission of the trustees to achieve fiscal stability. Still, the storied ranch remained a crown jewel in the midst of the cobalt blue Pacific Ocean.
- About the Author(s)
Billy Bergin, AuthorBorn and raised on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Dr. Billy Bergin spent more than five decades working in the ranching industry, first as a ranch hand and later as a veterinarian.