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Cattle grazing, energy crops could replace sugar production

  • BRYAN BERKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    HC&S workers listen as a prayer is said at the ceremonial first harvest for the last season of sugar cane at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) in Puunene, Maui on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

WAILUKU >> Alexander & Baldwin is considering cattle grazing and energy crops as sugar production phases out on Maui.

The Maui News reports the company held its conference call with investors last week covering topics like a grazing trial on the island and weighing the possibility of leases for large-scale ranching.

President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Benjamin said the company hopes to help local ranchers meet the growing demand for grass-fed beef.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. will stop sugar production before next year and reduce its workforce from 675 to 15.

Alexander & Baldwin estimates agribusiness operational losses this year between $5 million and $15 million.

Revenue fell from $150.7 million in the first quarter of last year to $108.8 million in the first quarter of 2016.

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