Friday, October 3, 2014

Musings: Farming and Political Will

In a recent post, I referenced a blog entry by Luke Evslin, who raised a number of good questions about the future of farming on Kauai after visiting Pioneer's seed farm in Waimea:

What is the barrier to increasing local food production on Kaua'i? Access to land? Capital? Lack of a market? Lack of willing farmers? How do we utilize that information to reverse the trend of declining farms

Are the seed companies a barrier to local food production? If so, why?

At the time, I'd already interviewed lifelong Kauai farmer Jerry Ornellas for a worthwhile new publication, Farmers & Friends, and I knew he'd answered many of Luke's questions. Now that the issue is out, I'm free to share with our Q&A session with you. 

I'll excerpt from it here, but I urge you to read the entire interview if you're at all interested in understanding agriculture in Hawaii, and how the anti-GMO fight has affected real farmers.

Let's start with the concept of increasing local production. As Jerry notes:

We fed ourselves before and we can do it again. But is that our goal? To feed ourselves? Or to have a healthy robust agricultural sector and support one another? Ironically, we had a lot more diversified ag and even rice exports when we had all the sugar cane and pine.

If the goal is to feed ourselves, Jerry is optimistic:

We've got such a gap between what we consume and what we produce here in Hawaii. That's a good jumping off point. We've got room to grow in replacing those imports. If we can replace even 10 percent over 20 years, that would be huge for Hawaii. We're spending $3.3 billion annually on imported food.

There's also an argument on “can we feed ourselves?” and I think we can. If Hawaiians could do it without modern tools, then I believe we can do it. No question we're going to have to change our diets and that could be a good thing. We can start by replacing wheat and corn with sweet potatoes, taro, breadfruit and possibly soybeans, to produce tofu, a good protein source. It's a really tall order, because people don't like to change. But from a theoretical viewpoint, it's do-able. We have the resources to do it, as far as land and water. Whether we have the political will is another story.

Regarding the barriers to increasing local food production, Jerry observed:

I don't see capital as a really huge hurdle. Marketing is a big hurdle, creating a demand for local products is really where we need to focus our energy. A good example is breadfruit. It's a a great product, but very little demand. Even chefs aren't using it. I always prefer the private initiative, but farmers don't have resources and expertise.

We need to start by identifying demand for local markets. We're going to saturate the farmers' markets at some point, and it's a major source of income for many farmers. Eventually we're going to have to move into the grocery stores. It's a matter of convincing the consumers that our products are superior, and they are. They're fresher, and they're local. Milk is a perfect example. Do you want something shipped from California, or produced locally?

Since many of the newbees who are trying to influence farm policy in Hawaii lack any historical perspective, I asked Jerry to discuss some of the major shifts that influenced modern agriculture in Hawaii, aside from the decline of the sugar and pineapple plantations:

The major shift came in the late '50s, early '60s, with the advent of refrigerated containerized cargo and jet travel. In the past, Hawaii only shipped in commodities like wheat, rice and animal food. But with refrigerated cargo, we could get California produce to Hawaii relatively quickly and inexpensively, so we lost our competitive edge. Jet travel led to mass tourism in Hawaii, which created a job market for farmers and agricultural workers. It's often easier to work in hotels than fields. And with the rise of tourism, we saw a huge rise in construction and other sectors, so labor became a problem. Those are still issues we deal with today.

I then asked Jerry if the future of ag is on Oahu, the Neighbor Islands or both:

Oahu is ramping up its ag production, but also losing its ag lands. Traditionally, the model was the Neighbor Islands, being more rural, would grow the food and ship it to Oahu. But no county is more dependent on tourism than Kauai. That wasn't the case even a few decades ago, when ag was the driver. I still see the potential of Neighbor Islands feeding Oahu, but that's not what's happening. The markets are on Oahu, so if you can produce there, you have a tremendous competitive advantage over someone who is shipping in. It's the same with imported inputs. Oahu can get them cheaper because they're shipped there first. Oahu also has a large immigrant population and many are involved in ag. I don't see it as Oahu vs the Neighbor Islands, but Oahu does have advantages.

On Kauai, and the other Neighbor Islands, we've been seeing a proliferation of gentleman's estates on ag land. Indeed, real estate companies that cater to these uses, such as Hawaii Life, have been major supporters of the anti-GMO/anti-ag movement and its candidates. I asked Jerry how gentrification is affecting farming on Kauai:

It obviously has a huge impact on local ag. It's driving up the cost of land for one thing, and it's not always compatible. Everyone wants to live in the country, but not necessarily next to a farmer. It's changing the complexion of our rural areas, and not in a good way. These people often have a very idealized view of what living in the country is all about. The reality is a lot different.

Having farms embedded in our community is going to be a big issue. It already is, with the call for setbacks and buffer zones. For the smaller farmers, that's not do-able.

Again, this goes back to political will and proper land management.

So twice the topic of “political will” is raised — political will that could be used to reduce the CPRs and vacation rentals that take farm land out of production and drive up the cost of ag land. Political will that could go toward allocating funds for farmer training, marketing, restoration of irrigation systems. But on Kauai, we haven't seed “political will” used for those purposes.

Instead, it has been used to try and destroy the seed companies, even though they are not creating barriers to local food production. In fact, they're actually supporting it by fixing irrigation systems, subleasing to farmers who work their land when it's not in seed production and providing jobs that maintain a valuable agricultural labor force.

As Jerry pointed out, diversified ag co-existed alongside monocrops like sugar and pineapple, so it's pretty hard to claim the same can't occur with the seed companies.

Yet this ad — produced by the HAPA group that Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser leads — makes it clear that extermination of the seed companies statewide is indeed the sole focus of his political will.

Not helping farmers, not improving local food production, not protecting ag land — just getting rid of the seed companies through fear and disinformation, while calling it "fair." No details on what will happen to all that ag land if the seed companies go, no viable plans or even ideas for any kind of agricultural transition or farming in the future. 

Just get rid of them, and let the chips fall where they may. Which we all know means more gentleman's estates, more money for Hawaii Life and the other high-end Realtors who are salivating at the prospect of converting farms into opulent hideaways. Is it any surprise they're backing the candidates who want to destroy the largest agricultural sector in Hawaii?

I hate to keep bringing up Gary, but it astounds me that people are still so blind as to believe he's not a one-trick pony, a single-issue candidate with a serious, self-serving ax to grind and no interest in the many other issues facing this county.

As a friend observed: "Giving money to Hooser at this point should be a Class C felony."

But then, stupidity and short-sightedness have never been against the law.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joan for this blog and your article that is linked.
Jerry Ornalles is good guy. Solid honest and smart. He got blasted, as all who are open-minded get blasted by Gary Hooser's supporters.
In the old days "the Plantation days", the camp Houses all had room for a little garden and fruit tree or two. Many people used un-used Sugar land for more farming area. The lifestyle was different, work all day (or night), go home and stay home (maybe go fishing). There were no real choices. Today there are so many people living in houses that the un-built areas are used for parking or illegal bedrooms (Thanks to JoAnn Yukimura)
All of the Hana Wai ditches worked in perfect order. Water was everywhere. It is a crime that these awesome engineering marvels and perfect functional water delivery systems are pau. Only the "private lands" have kept up the ditches. All of the Eastside ditches that the State took from AmFac are pretty much overgrown or destroyed by cattle.
There is land available for small farms. However, as Jerry accurately points out, there will be a saturation point in the "farmers markets" and one big and organized grower could knock out the dilettantes and the small guy.

The ant-Ag fistees are still running around. But, there is more conversation on pros and cons on GMO, since the fervor and hatred by the fistees seems to have relaxed. Maybe, as a result of the Coincil primary or maybe because half of the Fistee Mob Marchers have left the island. The Hippie types usually only last about 6 monthson Kauai. However, today Kauai has a purty big resident population of newcomer fisters and they have money. This group of mainly North Shore Haoles are the core of Hooser and Bynum's support.

But, I see one whole pile of regular working folks that are totally p*ssed off at the Council and their focus on BS topics, like Anti-Ag bills, Weird tax bills and the way Jay lets the Northshore nutjobs and Hooser/Bynum dictate the content and character of the Council meetings. Jay got no Balls or he is a closet Fistee.
The people want the roads fixed, budget balanced, jobs and to just raise their kids and live their life.
Gary, Tim, Mason, have all toned down their rhetoric in hopes of getting re-entrance to the Throne rooms, but if re-elected they will continue their vendetta against farming, housing and no Night Football games. These peeps will also continue their Tax TAx tax strategy.
The island must get rid of Bynum, Hooser, Chock and hopefully JoAnn and Jay (who is a real disappointment).

Anonymous said...

Read the interview. Much respect to you Joan for providing that much needed perspective on the topic of Ag on Kauai and to Jerry.

I'm so very dissapionted in the politicians who have been making trouble this past year. Making all kind bad decisions with out even talking to these seasoned farmers like jerry first. If they would have approached these issues with respect and humility and patience they would have found solutions for all. The disrespect and short-sightedness is just baffling. If we don't step up against people like Gary Hooser, we will all suffer. All these issues are related. Water, housing, Ag, taxes and so on. If they deal with Ag in such a hazardous manner, they will deal with other issues just as horribly. These are the un enlightened egotistical cliche politicians of yesterday. Let's not allow Gary or any other politician to continue to sow their toxic seeds of ignorance, fear, and division ever again. Out with the old, grotesque, stale, problem makers.

I'm looking forward to supporting inspiring, smart, inclusive, solution oriented individuals to step up and lead. Let's support them. Let's encourage them. Let's create them by holding them to the highest expectations and demanding integrity from them. In with the fresh, new, upgraded, and intelligent leaders.

Gary and Tim have gone rogue and taken Joanne, Jay, and Mason with them. Time for a change. Vote smart Kauai! Aloha

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand why those who are concerned about poisons in our environment are called anti-ag. I personally have never met a person who is against growing healthy food. Cancer rates are rising. Sea, air, soil, reef, fish and animal health are in drastic decline precipitating what some call the "6th extinction". The world's largest chemical companies decide to go into the seed business, but do we have knowledge of the history of these chemical companies and the millions of lives lost and sickened due to the poisons they produce. Google their history and read about the poisoning of whole towns (west Viginia?) and countries. Veterans with Parkinson's related to agent orange use. And then we have the way at least one of these companies have treated the locals, their nieghbors, who live next to the Waimea river. I have personally heard some of these stories and am completely disgusted by the utter lack of aloha for so many years that finally resulted in a lawsuit. So here is a big question for everyone- why does Kaua'i want companies with histories like theirs on our island? Can't we find a better way to utilize and support "ag"?. I think it is very important to consider who we want to invite to our island to set up large business ventures. The problem is not red-blue or fistee. The problem is the nature of the companies who are at the heart of the controversy. They are run by non-local billionaires and their bottom line is profit-not health. In another universe, imagine this scenario. All of the employees of the "seed' companies become owners of their own companies (ag co-operatives). 100% locally owned and operated- all the profits stay here on Island instead of fattening mainland billionaire's bank accounts. Healthy food is grown to feed our island and create healthy food products for export. And best of all-the local community gets to make all decisions-not the mega-chemical-seed companies in other parts of the world. It is time to unite and step up in defense of local farmers and workers and empower them. And it is time to disempower the multi- national corporations with their sordid histories. The workers for these companies deserve a much better deal, and so do all the other residents of our beautiful island.

Dawson said...

The problem is not red-blue or fistee. The problem is the nature of the companies who are at the heart of the controversy.

No, the problem is the local politicians who twist the dislike of international corporations into a tool of political demagoguery. A diversion to distract voters from the real issues that affect their lives. A con to convince Kauai's people to vote for them.

It's so ridiculously obvious what they're doing, how can you possibly not see it?

Anonymous said...

@10:51
Ok, let's see:

"I fail to understand why those who are concerned about poisons in our environment are called anti-ag."

You are called anti-ag because instead of including everybody who uses poison in the environment, you exclusively target the seed companies.

"Cancer rates are rising."

Nope they are not (with few exceptions like melanoma, so don't forget your suncreen today): http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@research/documents/webcontent/acspc-042151.pdf
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/facts-and-figures-report-declines-in-cancer-deaths-reach-milestone

"Sea, air, soil, reef, fish and animal health are in drastic decline precipitating what some call the "6th extinction""

Any data for that? (Why do I even bother to ask?)

"Google their history"

Yes, the University of Google is a big part of the problem.

"And then we have the way at least one of these companies have treated the locals, their nieghbors, who live next to the Waimea river."

I actually agree with you here, there is room for improvement. So give them a chance to do it.

"They are run by non-local billionaires and their bottom line is profit-not health."

Because killing your costumers is a really good business model, right?

"It is time to unite and step up in defense of local farmers and workers and empower them."

Yes, because we are too stupid to do that for ourselves, right?

Joan, I can't believe that after a year of you blogging about this issue, I still have to read a comment like this.





Joan Conrow said...

"Can't we find a better way to utilize and support "ag"?. "

What's stopping you? As I pointed out, you folks and Gary have no solutions, no alternatives, just a big NO to the seed companies and a bunch of bullshit "facts" that you keep spreading, just like in your comment.

If you can come up with some viable way to use thousands of acres of ag land and bring those people to the table, go for it.

Until then, you don't seem to get it: The seed companies are here because there is nothing else.

Joan Conrow said...

PS: And please, quit yammering about " Healthy food is grown to feed our island and create healthy food products for export."

Read the interview with Jerry and understand the obstacles we're facing to local production. It's not going to happen just because you engage in magical thinking.

So get real and spend your energy coming up with solutions and answers instead of just repeating, go away, go away.

Anonymous said...

The solution is to create local control of ag- owned and operated by locals. This is a topic worthy of consideration. It is not an easy one to create, but it is definitely possible if great minds on Kaua'i get together and figure out how to do it. Perhaps commenters on this blog could add some positive suggestions as to how this can be accomplished. One reader says Google is not a good place to learn the history of the large chemical-seed companies. I beg to disagree. Google just guides one to articles-Google does not create the articles. Finally a question for Joan- 10:51 says "" Healthy food is grown to feed our island and create healthy food products for export."- why do you consider such a statement to be "yammering". It seems quite sensible to me

Joan Conrow said...

It's "yammering" because it's continually uttered by people who know nothing about agriculture and the challenges that Hawaii has faced in creating diversified ag since the collapse of sugar & pine.

Did you read the interview with Jerry?

Anonymous said...

So .... Tell us why sugar and pineapple collapsed . Yes I read the interview. What is your definition of agriculture ?

Rory Flynn said...

Re the question posed by Anonymous at 6:37 -- "why did sugar and pineapple collapse?" -- here's a link to a study by the Legislative Reference Bureau: http://lrbhawaii.info/lrbrpts/87/sugar.pdf. It's illuminating.

Anonymous said...

Fresh kale, fresh kale, grown on former seed corn land, so dry on the west side, we keep constant source of water on it, we grow 500 acres of nothing but kale, i am a farmer who believes in magic, especially the ability to turn toxic seed corn land into an organic farm.
Ok, really i am a realtor wanting to develop the shit outta that land, it is far too valuable to grow crops and besides there is little land left to develop. I'll keep buying my kale from Moloaa's toxic legacy organic farms.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for the link, Rory.

The short answer, 6:27 p.m., is that sugar and pine collapsed because they were no longer economically competitive, for a variety of reasons.

This is a good definition of agriculture:

The science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock, to which I would add bees and exclude trees (forestry).

Anonymous said...

The plantations had over 150 years experimenting with crops that could compete. They tried many products. The distance from the marketplace and soil quality put real world limits on what could be grown and compete.
It would take a smidgeon of Ag lands to provide ample housing for the Kauai people.
Adjacent to Waipouli and Lihue are two ideal locations. It will take years, if the land owners want to provide houses, with this Bad Council and pertneer Commie Planning Department, let alone the Water Department that has seemingly judged that there ain't no water.
The County can IMMEDIATELY thru Council action increase available homesites. Make a commitment that all density questions, permit review and water source will be provided in six months. Open up the Ag Lot CPRS and allow at least one house per acre in the Wailua/Kapaa/Kalaheo/Omao/Lawai areas that are already essentially rural residential areas. Maybe put a cap on the price on the lot price. Maybe let the old guy in one house build a smaller house (he's old ya know) etc.
These residential Ag lands have no Ag future they are steep, small, no ag water and poor soil, let the land be what it is meant to be....a place for a house for a family home.
There are ways to address housing now. Do not ALLOW Yukimura, Bynum, Chock or Hooser any input....they do not want real houses for the folks.

As far as silly realtor who wants to sell the big ag land..There is a market for these Ag lots and they will probably be developed before this Bad Council does anything. This Council is focused on really important stuff, like digesting and passing bad tax bills that raise rents and kick Granny out of her house. Laws that create social discord and pilikia.
They do not fix roads, assist Hotels to be a better vacation site, work with kids so that da keeds get smaht, li dat.
Jay has to get this Council back to the essentials and away from the Hooser/Chock/Yuki/Bynum team of La La land extremes. Oh wait, Jay is the lead pom pom girl in this New AGE agenda Lineup...Rah Rah Rah- pass no good law -Rah Rah Rah -We'll get voted in anyway -ha Ha ha

Anonymous said...

Jerry Ornellas has dedicated so much of his time to agriculture, big and small. He walks the talk, he leads by example, that's why he's respected by many people and organizations. No matter how extreme the anti-ag groups put fear into people, he still stands up for ag. It's an exhausting effort, but he keeps on going. I especially like the fact that irrigation ditches are now maintained and the land is mostly covered with nice ground cover and not weeds and unruly trees. If the land was so poisoned, would anything grow on it? Further, there are remediation crops that are being grown and can be expanded. That is why science is so important. Further, the importance of finding the cure to illnesses through plant modification is vital to the whole world. Imagine Tobacco is the plant that has the Ebola "potential cure". If we can heal people, feed people, provide jobs and benefit communities...what more can we ask for?

Anonymous said...

@ October 3, 6:27 pm

Sugar and Pineapple collapsed in Hawaii because the US government cut a deal to purchse both from Cuba and Puorto Rico. Hawaii had to compete with third world country free labor as in Cuba and dirt cheap leases and labor in Puorto Rico.

Anonymous said...

@ October 4, at 10:46 AM

A Federal investigation in 1973 found that the USA did NOT make a deal with either Cuba or Puerto Rico regarding pineapples: http://www.usitc.gov/publications/tea/pub581.pdf

Sugar production in Puerto Rico peaked in 1952 and the last mill there closed in 2000. As far as I could find, US sugar imports from Cuba peaked in 1960.

From what I've found, it seems HIGHLY unlikely that Cuba or Puerto Rico had much, if anything, to do with the decline of the sugar and pineapple industry here. Please share your sources? I'm really interested in this.

Anonymous said...

Who do you trust?

Yesterday, news reported that cigarette manufacturers secretly financed most of the research that attributed lung disease to stress - keeping the attention off of cigarettes for a decade. The studies were not true, of course. The cigarettes truly caused the lung disease. The manufacturers knew it. So they financed a compliant academia and made sure all the data pointed away from cigs.

Dawson said...

Who do you trust?

Wrong question. It isn't a matter of trust.

It's a matter of every voting citizen using critical thinking (a.k.a. bullshit radar) to determine who is lying and who is truthful on a case-by-case basis.

And that's hard work. Which is why so many people default to the easy answers of emotionalism, prejudice and paranoia. Which makes them simple prey for politicians.

Anonymous said...

The Fanjul brothers' were born in Cuba and are descendants of the Spaniard Andres Gomez-Mena who immigrated to Cuba in the 19th century and built up an empire of sugar mills and property by the time he died in 1910. In 1936, his descendant Lillian Gomez-Mena married Alfonso Fanjul, Sr, the heir of the New York-based sugar companies the Czarnikow Rionda Company and the Cuban Trading Company. The couple's holdings were then combined to create a large business of cane sugar mills, refineries, distilleries, and significant amounts of real estate. Due to Fidel Castro's 1959 Marxist Cuban Revolution, the family moved to Florida along with other wealthy, dispossessed Cuban families. In 1960, Alfonso Sr., the father of the current CEO of Fanjul Corp. Alfonso Jr., bought 4,000 acres (16 km2) of property near Lake Okeechobee along with some sugar mills from Louisiana and started over on the US. Alfonso Sr. and his son Alfy Fanjul got the firm off its feet and Pepe, Alexander and Andres joined in the late 1960s and 1970s.[1] Pepe Fanjul Jr. joined the sugar firm in 2002.[2] As of 2008, the company owned 155,000 acres (630 km2) in Palm Beach County.[3]

In October 1984, Alfonso Fanjul and J. Pepe Fanjul along with Gulf and Western Industries announced they had reached a deal for Gulf and Western to sell its sugar businesses in Florida and the Dominican Republic, along with associated operations, to the Fanjul companies, for an undisclosed amount. In the Dominican Republic, the transaction included 240,000 acres of land, a sugar mill, two hotels in the capital of Santo Domingo and a resort area in the eastern region of La Romana. Assets included in the Florida purchase were 90,000 acres of land in Palm Beach County, a sugar mill and a sugar refinery.[4]

Anonymous said...

When you discuss the collapse of pineapple and sugar cheap labor in the Philippines is a large factor.

Anonymous said...

And on September 1, 1957, Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan was born in Cuba, later to become one of the world’s best-selling recording artists and winner of seven Grammy Awards, thus sealing the demise of the Hawaiian sugar industry.

Anonymous said...

Labor costs certainly were a driving force in the demise of sugar, but so was the rather valuable land on Oahu where Kahuku, Waialua and Oahu Sugar went out of business as urbanization began chipping away at their croplands. Ditto for Dole where many former pine fields are now Mililani, an ongoing process that started in the '60's. Once a critical mass of sugar production was lost, Hawaiian sugar was pretty much done for except HCS which holds on by virtue of factors not shared by the other Hawaii plantations.The difference between Oahu and here, and this is a very clear difference close the heart of the anti-ag posture of the "red shirts, is that the pressure on the land here comes not from native born residents but a component on non-native people moving in and grabbing up land and over-represented in the population on Kauai relative to Oahu. They then decide that they will grab the agenda and force their values on everyone else. Sadly, while there are notable and welcome exceptions, many of them will always be strangers here by virtue of who and what they are and the fact they offer so little of substance. The north shore of Kauai, wallowing as it is in red shirts, even though it's a long way from the "problem" is a good example of this- not unlike North Shore Oahu and Haiku-Paia-Kula-Makawao Maui- havens of vocal, opinionated outsiders.

kuaaina said...

My question, Joan, re your 5:17 AM comment excluding forestry, is why? Because it's a long-term crop? So is asparagus. Because it's a fiber crop? So is hemp, and cotton and the bagasse in sugar cane.

Joan Conrow said...

Kua`aina -- I only excluded it from the definition of ag because I think of tree growing/harvesting as forestry. Though it could be argued for inclusion as a crop under the definition of ag I cited.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. government observes a long-held definition of a working farm. It is used in all 50 states, including Hawaii, along with a wealth of objective data and criteria to guide public discussion about farms.
Since 1975, the Bureau of the Census, in agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget, has defined a farm as “any place that has (or normally would have) $l,000 or more in gross sales of farm products (e.g., crops, livestock, fish, and trees) per year.”
The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (DOA) uses the same definition. DOA says a “farm is a place with estimated (or expected) annual sales of agricultural products of at least $1,000.”
In addition to farm census statistics, the definition is used operationally by the USDA. It is a qualifying standard for many USDA farm loan and farm assistance programs.
Since 1850, when census criteria for counting American farms and farmers were first established, the official federal definition of a farm has changed nine times. Through the years, the U.S. Census of Agriculture has employed two criteria to define a farm: (1) gross sales of agricultural products; and (2) acreage.
From 1850-1869, a farm was any place that generated $100 in agricultural product sales. From 1870-1899, a farm was defined by $500 in sales or 3 acres. From 1925-1949: $250 in sales, or 3 acres. From 1959-1974: $50 and 10 acres, or $250 in sales. From 1975 to the present day, the sole standard for a farm has been $1,000 in gross sales.
This simple definition may confound romantics or ideologues inclined to see farms as large, pastoral freehold estates with barns, silos, and fields of tasseled grain, fully generating all family income. But the fact is that a great many Americans have always worked small plots of land, often part-time and for little income, and continue to do so. Commendably, the federal government has consistently acknowledged them without undue, judgmental complication.
This reality-based, democratic demography has the benefit of looking at what people actually do, not what others might imagine them doing. It has served the interests of American farmers well for over a century.
The USDA definition of agriculture is similarly simple, sweeping and inclusive. Agriculture, says the USDA, is “the utilization of biological processes on farms to produce food and other products useful and necessary to man.” That broad, inclusive definition embraces forestry. The U.S. Forest Service is administered by USDA’s Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment.

Anonymous said...

people will is stronger then political will, and when we on Kaua'i stop taking everyone that knocks on our door at first blush with open arms, and dragging them in here without knowing the full implications of what they do, and how it will affect us in the long term we will be a lot better off.

We keep saying we can't do this and we can't do that, and we need these guys to come here and do this and that blah.

Seriously and we wonder why everyone is whining and moaning about stuff instead of trying to do stuff for themselves.

After a while people just give up, and wait for the next best thing to hit our island, and then rush to go work for them, not caring what or who they really are, or how that job could affect other people, even within their own ohana.

Thus, we have had all sorts of developers, interlopers, and people with a "grand plan" for kaua'i march in and out of here ad nauseam, breaking up families, splitting communities and generally causing havoc and a big mess.

The GMO's aren't the last guys to try this, they are just the latest of "Now I am here, I ain't leaving we employ some people, so now we are part of Kauai. deal with it, kiss our ass, hugs and lets be pals."

Yeah like we haven't seen that happen before.

And then, we complain about others who have mo0ved here, got theirs and think they can do and say whatever they like hey yanno what what the heck is the difference? they are all the same.

As far as I can see, we need to shut the damned doors, seriously. I read an article where someone is saying the best way to save Kauai is to construct things. Yeah, like that worked before too. Build it and they will come. uh huh. That's why we have all of these empty shops, stores, and office space here. So, we need more of that.

Temporary fix. We need to fill the space we already have, and farm the land we got to feed our people, and make as much stuff as we can here, and get on that entraupenuer (I know I didn't spell that right) stuff and encourage everyone to try and work for themselves not for someone else.

I'm trying. That's my solution.
Island-wide moratorium on everything or every project over a million bucks, and no expansion for anyone until we figure out what to do with the stuff that's already here. fill the pukas, get some production going and get our own people motivated before we let another operation in here that's gonna promise us the world but give us nothing but headaches.

This is a problem that only the people that live here can solve.

Anonymous said...

October 5, 4:38 p.m. Yawn!!! Same crep, different day. Let’s shut everything down like Walter’s Molokai. The haves and the have not. Let’s not do this, don’t do that! What’s Molokai’s unemployment rate? They’re really doing a great job feeding themselves. Their economy was tourism, and agriculture. What is it now, subsistence living and traveling to Maui for work, and agriculture, oh yea, and they’re filling up every single inch of irrigatable acre with sustainable crops. (sorry Molokai for using your economy as an example).

You’re asking to stop everything so we can figure it out! Molokai is smaller than Kauai, and they still didn’t figure it out, except “keep on plugging along, everyday like everyone else.” If they didn’t find the golden goose yet, you’re expecting you can find that answer to where the golden goose is from! Our economy is a little more complex then Molokai, we’ve got more population, infrastructure to deal with.

This leads me to TGI, whose job is to sell news papers.

TGI, Barca: “it’s about chemicals, poison being sprayed next to our houses, rivers, hospitals and schools.” Old news, different day. Like I said, look out there, the big jerks have changed their cultural practices. They’re changing, but Barca’s still sing the same old crep.

TGI, Carvalho ask: “Mr. Barca, this particular discussion involves over 600 employees who work in this industry. How would you address their plea for what they do?”

I was hoping the TGI would write in the article of Barca’s response. It would be something like this. I would help the land owner of these lands to build a low impact hotel that can employ a couple of hundred people. I would, contact all the produce companies to start considering writing up produce contracts for our farmers to have an outlet for our products to travel to Oahu where majority of the population lives (supply and demand). I will make agreements with the water and air exporters to reduce our shipping charges for agriculture, may be give an export tax credit for doing business with Kauai County.

I was hoping to see an answer to solve the 600 people unemployment. Instead we got this! “Is a job worth a life? We’re dealing with the largest chemical corporations in the history of Earth. Anywhere they’ve been in the world, they’ve left nothing but death and destruction.” Barca couldn’t even answer the question, or even ask for clarification.

The other guys answer, no different. But it is fair for ALL OF KAUAI. Both answers (Barca’s / Carvalho’s) were scripted, rehearsed and were trying to get the people to vote for them.

Since the time of the last sugar truck hauled the last load of sugar to the plant, all the politicians, land owners, and business industry has been trying to find the best possible, environmentally sound product / use to occupy our agricultural lands. All of you 960’s only asking the questions now. None of you offers solutions to find a balance to our economy. OH, except STOP!

You all know where these big land owners live, make them an offer instead of threatening their tenants. What these companies are looking for is highest and best use. Who’s going to help them maintain the irrigation systems, who’s going to help them maintain the roads, let alone crop all the fields.

Come November, just vote. One person, one vote. I like that comment. That was really a great comment. That’s worth two thumbs up! Stop yapping, wait and vote.

Anonymous said...

Yanno, sometimes the spin of a turning top has to stop. So much of our island is completely out of control and unbalanced. When this happens sometimes stopping and prioritizing is a really good idea, rather then leave the doors and windows wide open and before you know it we have...Oahu.

And we all know Oahu guys use Kaua'i as their own private back yard to work in, run around in, and grab all the opihi they can before heading back home to the city life.

The Oahu city-dwellers and the Californication contingency are hell bent on turning Kaua'i to their home rule. I frankly am not about to lay down in the potholed road and let em. Are you even aware that so many of the contracted jobs here do not go to Kaua'i guys but are subcontracted out by Oahu companies who bring their own guys with them and house them here? Yeap, almost every road and construction job here has that situation.

Is that what we get? Seed Companies give me a break. They hire from other countries, and the mainland and Oahu supervisors and all better jobs are not from Kaua'i.

Yeah I said stop but I am not a one issue person. I am talking about everything under a million bucks.

Until we fix what we got. And what we got right now is a hodge podge mess of just chuck it where we can fit it in, and we will fix the mess later.

That is sheer stupidity. As for Barca and Carvalho, the way I see it, both ex pro somethings, both have a family, one got a shot for a long time it's time for new blood.

How the hell is Kipu related to Mel and Ross? That's funny. Yeah just what we need more nepotism.

Here's my roster. Laranio,(cuz she is born and raised local, a woman, young and fresh blood) Perry, (cuz I think we should give him a chance and see how it goes with him) Mel, (cuz I like him regardless of 960), Mason (cuz I think if he can get voted in he should have a shot), Ross because even though I supported 960, I have watched Ross on other issues, and I think he can grow into his council chair, even though it is still a bit big for him, Arryl Kaneshiro. Yeah I know wow i am a real red shirt traitor huh? But there is a reason. Arryl I beleive can be worked with, he is young, and he may be good on other issues. The seventh seat is a toss up for me. I do not think that Felicia can take the heat in that room, I am very tired of Joann, and Gary can do better with Hapa. For me Bynum is out, so that leaves Papa Jay. So, I am gonna give Pops one more term. Someone needs to wield that gavel.

Anonymous said...

October 6, 9:41: 1st and 5th paragraph: Life doesn’t work that way, that’s hopeful / wishful thinking, business goes on everyday with and without both of us. Paragraph 2 & 3, I see your point but this is really a free country, everyone is welcome to come and go as we please. We can go to Oahu to their stores and buy things cheaper or things we don’t have (like equipment parts) on this island and bring it back.

6th paragraph, this hodge podge mess you’re referring to is our economy. Our economy revolves around supply and demand. We had a supply of agricultural lands open and the first FEASIBLE and best offer to use these lands didn’t come from the anti’s, came from an economic opportunity. Now if the anti’s want to make the land owners an offer. By all means, go for it. If your referring to 960 and the division (red and blues), then yes to your logic in your last paragraph, Gary has to go.

7th paragraph, that’s your choice, one person one vote. Here’s how I look at it and the majority of voters in the primary (but not with the exact same view point). I choose the phrase, “Select the lesser of two evils.” Because both candidates have their good qualities and bad qualities. Bernard came from a team sport, and Dustin come from an individual sport. Which candidate can work better in a team (county of Kauai) atmosphere? One who’s been taking care of his own business (MMA / surfing) or someone who has to see everyone’s point of view whether good or bad, agree or disagree (team sport). So, what if Dustin get’s elected and given the current thinking and the modus operandi of the county system (employees). Dustin’s unproven to jump in and operate in the current system (team atmosphere). I’m not willing to take that chance with my one vote.

Here’s another, if we look at our economy as it revolves, it is so complex that just saying NO / STOP, is not a logical long term / short term decision especially for someone to lead our county. The next question is how to work with the land owners and entities to phase out and go to an alternative use that will keep our economy revolving. That’s a leader who can bring every player (land owners, tenants, business industry) to the table (team sport) and work on solutions. Dustin just pissed off all the land owners, he didn’t even earn their trust, nor will they let him the door for even a meaningful discussion (they may, only if he’s elected, but don’t hold your breath). Give him your vote, that’s the justification that you can live with.

Last paragraph, if you’re tired of Gary, then you have to vote for candidates 8, 9, 10, and 11, plus whoever was candidate 1 – 3 and 5 in the primary. Here’s your math. If 8 or 9 don’t get your vote, you won’t get #7 out. He’ll get his votes, but 8 and 9 won’t gain ground if you don’t vote for 8 – 11. Oh, remember, you can only vote for 7 candidates.

This is great dialog between us, at least I see where you’re coming from and respect your views, we don’t agree on the mayor’s race but we do agree on the council race. Gary has to go, he’s (in my prospective) a lair, he’s the main one who created this division in the first place. I’ve got no respect of his actions, and his actions are not fair and responsible for ALL OF KAUAI.

Have a great week, and we’ll talk to you soon.