‘‘Our customers may consider this is a better option than having no cattle and no cattle industry,’’ Franco said.
Linda Cox, a University of Hawaii professor who has studied the state’s cattle industry for decades, said the drought is so bad that she’s worried whether ranchers can stay in business.
Miles of pasture in Waimea on the Big Island are now bare dirt, she said. Buying feed is too expensive for most ranchers, she said, and installing irrigation equipment and buying water is costly.
‘‘I'm really praying for rain is about all I can say about it,’’ Cox said.