Kauai Farmer Feature: John Nelson’s 6F Ranch

John Nelson is currently working on reviving an old Kaua’i family ranch.

John and his horse Sarge take a moment to “smell the ulei” (Hawaiian rose) on his family’s 30 acre 6F Ranch where he aims to manage a small herd of cattle

The story of 6F Ranch is likely shared by many former ranching families on Kaua’i.  Since Hurricane Iniki ravaged the island 30 years ago, the land hasn’t been touched. Kids went away for college, careers and city life.  John Nelson, one who decided to return, is bringing the family ranch back to life.  He has the drive and passion to succeed.  

“I decided to start the business when I returned home and saw how much of Kaua’i has been over-commercialized and over-built as agricultural land disappears,” says John. “My biggest challenge is coming up with the small amount of capital needed for tools and equipment to start clearing the property.  I work full-time as a field conservationist on Kaua’i and spend my pau hana hours and weekends working on the ranch. The cattle I need to get started are already in the family. I am extremely proud to take over the ranch after 30 years, bringing back the “old” Kaua’i ways.”

6F Ranch has 30 acres altogether and John is in the process of clearing and installing fence line. So far he has 4 paddocks in about 12 acres, installed gates. “I have 4 mules, 1 horse, and a calf-cow pair. The mules are helping with clearing and I am cube feeding the others. I am hoping to seed the paddocks with signal and pangola grass to add more forage so I can add more cow-calf pairs,” he continues. “I have to make up for limited resources and funds with a lot of sweat and hard work.  It’s well worth it to bring Kalaheo back to what it was originally – ranch land.”   

Want to help Johnʻs vision succeed? Make a loan to 6F Ranch through making a Slow Money Hawaii micro-loan with others. John is looking for 5-6 people who are interested in learning more about 6F ranch with an eye to lend a portion of the $11,000 he is raising. (He needs a total of $15,000 and has already raised four-thousand.)  Most of the money will be for fencing materials to build the paddocks which he is clearing by hand.  John is requesting a 3-year loan at 3.5% interest.  

If you’d like to participate in this loan, or for more information read about Slow Money lending here or email us at [email protected]