Franco is similarly careful about the Hawaiian ranching business' prospects, noting the islands have experienced wet months in January and February in recent years only to have them followed by dry weather.
Ranchers will need four or five years of average rainfall to resume operations on the same scale as before the drought, he said.
"We're pretty happy with what's happened the last couple months," said Pono von Holt, president of Ponoholo Ranch.
"If it can sustain itself over here for the next few more months, I think we'll start working out of a situation that we've been in for a long time." Hawaii, despite its image as a lush, tropical state, has areas facing the same problem of a multiyear drought as California's agricultural heartland and other large swaths of the West.
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Von Holt said he won't begin adding more cows to the herd until it rains for several more months.
He also won't consider the drought over until rainfall at the 11,000-acre (4,450-million hectare) ranch returns to at least 80 percent of normal precipitation averaged across a 12-month period.