MAUNALOA, Hawaii – Molokai Ranch is hoping a successful program of Wagyu embryo transplants will raise awareness about local sustainable food production and ranching opportunities on Molokai.

Molokai Ranch began its Wagyu Embryo program in April 2013 when the company bought Wagyu embryos at the Belcampo Farms Wagyu Auction in California and Gypsum Valley Ranch in Salina, Kan. Molokai Ranch then recruited Dr. Dean Koesel of DNA Embryo Transfers Inc., Deer Park, Wash., to perform the transplants in November 2013. As of Jan. 18, 55 percent of the cows implanted with Wagyu embryos were confirmed pregnant as verified by Dr. Lisa Wood, DVM of Veterinary Associates Inc. on Hawaii.

As part of its program, Molokai Ranch is sponsoring lectures and practicum featuring Mike DuPonte, a Univ. of Hawaii Extension agent, and Dr. Jinzeng Yang, Ph.D. from the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources. The program will include an artificial insemination of Molokai Ranch cows with Wagyu semen. The artificial insemination program will run through Jan. 31, and is an opportunity for local ranchers and students to learn about the process.

"UH has the opportunity to work with Molokai Ranch to take the industry to a higher level," DuPonte said. "Achieving superior genetics is most important for the highest quality beef. It's all about consistent quality, and Molokai has everything it takes to make that happen."

Molokai Ranch is Hawaii's second largest ranch, spanning 54,000 acres of beach and countryside.