Saturday, May 7, 2016

Musings: Time Will Tell

(This post has been updated to reflect the smarmy process by which this bill came into being.)

It's too bad the state Legislature has been suckered into subsidizing organic farming. Especially when it was achieved through the despicable and totally non-transparent "gut and replace" method.

I'm talking about HB 1689, which authorizes some $2 million in state tax credits for farmers pursuing organic certification and production, whether they're growing for local or export markets.

More fair would have been tax credits to help all growers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is expected to drive many small farmers in the Islands out of business.

Or if the goal is to spur local production, then support any farmer who is selling in-state.

Why should an incentive be offered only to those who have embraced a certain philosophy of agriculture?

But legislators are, after all, politicians. And it's an election year. Which means they're susceptible to the heavy pressures exerted by organic lobbying groups like Center for Food Safety (CFS). 

That's how a bill that began life as a ethanol tax credit morphed in conference committee into an organic producers' subsidy. With no public debate, no opportunity for public testimony.

Here we have yet another example of the hypocrisy expressed by the anti-GMO groups, which claim they're devoted to transparency and restoration of the democratic process while making a mockery of both. It used to be the progressive groups denounced "gut and replace." But apparently now the ends justify dirty means.

And they're totally shameless about their actions, too. Hawaii CFS director and registered lobbyist Ashley Lukens quickly issued a press release hailing the tax credits:

Organic agriculture has a huge role to play in addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time — economic revitalization, climate change, public health and environmental protection.”

Actually, Ashley is (once again) wrong. As I noted in my report on a study by Purdue University agricultural economists:

Eliminating GMO crops in America would significantly boost greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions and have other environmental and economic impacts.

The Purdue researchers found that yields of soy, corn, and cotton would decrease, requiring some 252,047 acres of U.S. forest and pasture lands to be converted to crop production to offset the shortfall. A reduction in the export of U.S. commodity crops would also increase demand for cropland in other nations.

Some of the same groups that oppose GMOs want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the potential for global warming," said Dr. Wallace E. Tyner, one of the study authors. "The result we get is that you can't have it both ways. If you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, an important tool to do that is with GMO traits."

But hey, since when have facts mattered to the anti-GMO crowd? Which is why The Garden Island's coverage of any stories of this sort must include a comment from the chief charlatan, Councilman Gary Hooser:

Kudos to the legislature for recognizing the importance of supporting local organic farmers. More and more people in Hawaii, and around the world, are choosing organically grown foods over processed factory food as a healthier alternative for both the people, and the planet.”

Gosh, he sounds an awful lot like a pitch man for the organics industry, which is a major funder of the anti-GMO movement.

Of course, there's no proof that organic food actually is any healthier for people, and the Purdue researchers proved it's not healthier for the planet. The inflated claims are all marketing hype to help folks feel better about paying a hefty premium, and to guilt moms into buying stuff they can't afford.
And please, let's not pretend that organic ingredients aren't also turned into processed food in factories. How else would you get organic Cheetos and all the rest of the highly-processed stuff that fills the “health food” stores?

Speaking of pretending, even though the organic tax credit was stuck in during the conference committee, Rep. Dee Morikawa is quoted in TGI as saying she supported the bill through the entire legislative process. How is that possible?

Shibai aside, it comes down to this: Will the promise of up to $50,000 in tax credits and cost shares actually motivate folks to take up organic farming?

Rep. Chris Lee, who caved into the CFS lobbying arm, was quick to promise all that and more:
More local jobs? Like when the organic guys run short on woofers?

Only time will tell whether all this wishful thinking turns into reality. 

In the meantime, these political shenanigans offer yet more evidence that the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii is not pono.

47 comments:

Harold Keyser said...

I'm sure all of Hawaii's farmers, regardless of their production system, would like a nice tax gift from our legislature. So why limit it to the sector that accounts for a whopping 2.4% of farms, 2.9% of acreage and 1.8% of the ag market sales? Why just the elite 1-2 per-centers if we really want to grow diversified ag?

Anonymous said...

Love your choice of word, "charlatan", to describe Hooser. Agree with you that the Garden Island newspaper gives him too much ink. As for him, he deserves everything that that will happen in the elections this year with his million fistees. In the Biblical sense, I remember the saying, "no man can serve two masters, for he will love one and hate the other". Hooser has to many masters external to this island and will kowtow to them, rather than the residents of this island. What angers me is the Garden Island always focusing on him, rather than the real issues. Some how they forget that the county is involved in a lawsuit over 2491 which never should have been written. The county has wasted about $500K over this bill.

Dinkydao

Anonymous said...

You just answered your question: it's for the 1-2% like Homes on Kauai and also the Pakalolo farmer. Who do you think had that kind of Monopoly money to corner the HMSA Quest payments? Just like those expensive health food stores getting funded by EBT big spenders. All of our tax dollars recycle back to the 1-2% through public corruption.

Anonymous said...

Hooser needs to retire

Anonymous said...

Looks like the folks on Maui are about to get 36,000 acres of cows and trees as their neighbors, bet they bitch about this too.

Anonymous said...

How about the seed companies apply for organic certification. It'll be really funny they get certified. Getting certified is the easiest. Maintaining certification is a full time job. If I was them, would a nice political statement. Just saying. It'll be based on the seeds. It don't have to anyone from kauai to certify these operations.

Anonymous said...

Ross is an ass. He knows nothing and has done nothing except posture and pander. He is no match for Hooser which pisses him off cause he knows it.

Anonymous said...

Take a good long look at: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1689&year=2016

There's way more to this story than we seem to be getting. HB 1689 started off as a biofuels/ethanol tax credit bill. Then all that got tossed aside in favor of an entirely new bill to help organic folks get certified. All this happened very late in the session. Rep. Chris Lee credits the Hawaii Center for Food Safety Action Fund, their lobbying arm, for the accomplishment. So what really happened?

This bill, like the hemp bill, is an example of special interest "rent-seeking" at its worst. It does not bode well.

We keep thinking we can buy people off. It's folly--like trying to bribe a horde of locusts. They just keep munching away.

Joan Conrow said...

Thank you, 11:26. I have updated the post to reflect this.

Anonymous said...

9:22, I disagree, Ross represents the regular people on Kauai, Gary is an ass, always posturing.

Anonymous said...

The people responsible for this last minute shell game are a pack of dissembling Ponzi artists. It is telling that they are so shameless in scrambling to claim credit for such a dissembling act of favoritism at the public's expense. But, considering the cast of characters, it is no big surprise. It begs a quote from Cicero's First Catalinian Oration: " WHEN, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?" Not that Lukens, Hooser, Ching, Ing and their ilk approach Cataline's threat to the Republic, but their endless posturing and intriguing nevertheless approach puke-inducing proportions accompanied by the irritation of a constant weeping boil.

Anonymous said...

What the leg did regarding the organic tax credit was a good thing but as usual late. The biggest effect of the anti pesticide movement on production farming was to the small farmer in residential areas. East side Honolulu, Kapaa Wailua, Kalaheo Lawai. Most farmers with neighbors who aren't farmers have long moved away from farming and with the increase in the public appeal of organic farming those that remain have been looking to incorporate more organic methods in their operation. Using pesticides allows certain crops to enjoy a production increase that means money in the niche market that is Hawaii ( papaya, tomato, cukes, eggplant, basil for example). Conversion to organic production has increased costs and lower production. Conversion to certified organic has it's own additional costs. That being said I doubt though that the tax credit will have any real impact on organic production.

Anonymous said...

9:22 lets make a bet on the upcoming elections, Ross will smoke Gary you stupid haole

Anonymous said...

In most Filipino/Japanese yards that have gardens don't use pesticides and their fruits and vegetables grow just fine.

Anonymous said...

9:22pm you say Ross is envious of Gary? I think Ross hates Gary. Apples and oranges you idiot.

Anonymous said...

Name one thing Ross has done. Just one thing. Fucking guy runs the council and has not done shit.

Anonymous said...

@11:26. Are you joking? They use pesticides.

Anonymous said...

Ross has done a lot. He did his homework and voted no on time wasting bills proposed by the lair. Common sense leadership. For the local people and our peaceful public.

Anonymous said...

I don't use pharma drugs to heal my self and I prefer not to have pharma pesticides sprayed on my food as it is growing. Does that mean I am a purist? A rich haole? No. It means I am conscious of the food I eat and shop smart!

It is very expensive for organic farmers to get certification. Kudos to them that they get a tax break.

Politics will always be tainted, but I don't really need or want to support big pharma companies anyway.....

It is not all so black and white. The solution lies somewhere in the middle..the gray area...

Anonymous said...

Pharma pesticides?

Anonymous said...

12:09 you can do better, why not run your fucking self jackass? You only can talk shit? What can you do?

Anonymous said...

Ross votes no. hahahahaha That is what he does. Makes big body and votes no. Sheesh. He is in charge of the council and has the votes to actually pass anything he wants to and he does nothing except vote no. Suppose that is the kinda of guy he is.

Anonymous said...

Gee, maybe we will see some savings at the farmers market!, Haha

Anonymous said...

Can't we just hate them all?
Gary and Mel are equally scheming.
Ross and Mel use coded hate speech.
Joann says everything and nothing all at once.
The parks have gone to shit. Kapaa looks like a giant failed alcohol rehab.
Every back road has a couple tweakers parked.
The bus is full of obnoxious drunks.
Trucks on the road are louder than ever.
Wish these going-nowhere political climbers would spend half as much time studying issues as they spend policing corn fields and spare bedrooms.

Anonymous said...

Ross is a punk and has always been one growing up. I'm local and know enough that all this GMO crap has just divided the island enough to not see through the bullshit. He has done nothing. Hoosier, yukimura, rapozo and Kagawa need to go.

Anonymous said...

Not the ones that I know and I know for a fact that not everyone uses pesticides.

Anonymous said...

The science behind it and some pesticide companies own some pharmaceutical companies.

Yes GMO Chem/bio companies own Pharmas.

Anonymous said...

@6:37 The science behind pesticides and pharmaceuticals is not the same at all. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

5:43 and you not one punk or one bitch? Nice life you must have writing hate mail on Mother's Day. Get a life, change your diaper.

Anonymous said...

7:36pm

Who doesn't know what they are talking about?


Genetic Modification in Medicine | ...
gm.org › 2007/07/23 › genetic-modificat...
Jul 23, 2007 - medicine genetic modification ... modification being eyed in the future is on the field of medicine.

(GMO) | Britannica.com
Britannica.com › science › genetically-m...
Mobile-friendly - Apr 28, 2016 - GMO organism whose genome has been engineered in the laboratory in ... Genetically modified organism (GMO) ... agriculture, medicine, research, and environmental mGMOs in Food and Medicine: An Overview | GMO Answers
https://gmoanswers.com › studies › gmos...
Mobile-friendly - Aug 28, 2014 - When you search online for “GMOs” (Genetically Modified Organisms) the results that come up speak to GM crops, but GMOs are more than just plants. ... In medicine, genetic engineering (GE) is used to make biopharmaceutical drugs. ... It is my hope that this review of the parallels ..anagement.



Guidance 21: Medicines produced by genetic manipulation ...
https://www.tga.gov.au › guidance-21-m...
Mobile-friendly - Jul 12, 2013 - The regulation of genetically modified organisms | Biological medicines | GMO medicines | Special ...
‎What are medicines produced by ...

Fuck the Chem/Bio Slaves

Anonymous said...

@10:38 you don't know what you're talking about. Everybody knows that medicines can be made from GMOs. You said pesticides and pharma use the same science, and they don't.

Anonymous said...

@736pm and 432am

Bayer Refuses the EPA's Request to Stop Selling a Pesticide. Wait ...
Modern Farmer › 2016/02 › bayer-belt-p...
Mobile-friendly - Feb 18, 2016 - Bayer, the enormous German pharmaceutical and chemical ... to the pesticide, and other studies have been more like low-level, .... There are many scientists studying toxicology.

For example, recently (February 2013) a normalized method XP T 90-223 for the assay of pharmaceutical products and their metabolites in water - dissolved fraction by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry coupled with a solid phase extraction, was developed. This method is efficient at a very low concentration level with a quantification limit ranging from 1 to 25 ng/L and shows a good relevancy on different water samples as ground water, surface water or water for human consumption [4]. Several studies have reported the separation and the quantification of a mixture of pharmaceuticals products (Carbamazepine, Diclofenac), hormones and pesticides with liquid chromatography coupled with fluorescence [5] or mass spectrometry for the detection phase [6]. Excellent results were obtained with quantification limits in the range of ng/L (10 to 1000 ng/L). This method is indeed rather sophisticated and technically heavy and therefore presents a high analysis cost. HPLC analytical methods using UV equipped with diode array detector (DAD) is well developed because of its easier accessibility, handling and lower cost as compared to mass or fluorescence detectors. DAD detection is less sensible but indeed permits to reach intermediate sensitivity levels, and to bring quick and cheap analyses. Many studies on pharmaceutical compounds (Diclofenac, Ofloxacin, Aspirine) using HPLC-UV method were achieved on different matrices (water, urine, plasma sample, tablet or drugs) with detection and quantification limits ranging from μg/L to mg/L [7-10]. If DAD detection is well adapted for known mixtures of water contaminants at intermediate concentration (to μg/L), for real matrices representative of treatment plants successive extraction, clean up and preconcentration steps were required. Recently, Zhou developed a hollow-fiber-supported ionic liquid microextraction method coupled with HPLC-UV in order to detect and quantify four endocrine disrupting compounds (bisphenol A, 17-β-estradiol, estrone and diethylstilbestrol) present in water surface samples. After extraction optimization, the proposed method allowed to reach a good linearity range (0.15-100 μg/L) and reproducibility but also to achieve very low detection limits: 0.03, 0.05, 0.10, 0.05 μg/L for bisphenol A, 17-β-estradiol, estrone and diethylstilbestrol respectively [11].


Anonymous said...

Now we know where Dustin Barca will get his money ....
http://kauaieclectic.blogspot.com/2016/05/musings-gimme-gimme.html

Anonymous said...

A little less than a year ago, I started a small "yarden" in my backyard just as a side project to see if I could grow a few veggies and herbs for home use. I used no pesticides, and tried to purchase seeds that stated they were not GMO. I even put fencing around the plants to keep the chickens from getting to them. Most of my seedlings were eaten by bugs, and some got weird white wormy lines all over the leaves (not sure what that was). All this time later, guess what I got? One tiny tomato and a few chives. ONE tomato. That's all that I was able to produce. Now, I'm not a farmer, but I figured I would be able to at least grow a few things for my own use, but man, it's no walk in the park. All the people claiming farming is easy, and questioning why Kauai isn't self-sustainable, non-GMO, organic, etc. should really start walking the talk. I don't want to hear about their "friend" who has an organic farm somewhere on the mainland, I want to see a successful, organic, non-GMO farm that uses no pesticides, and grows enough food to sustain ALL Kauai's residents at a reasonable cost. Not everyone here has a lot of money to buy organic, non-GMO so it needs to be affordable. I've heard so many people say how easily this can be done, so where is this farm? I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure someone is currently working on a business plan for this endeavor, right? They must be. In the meantime, I'll sit back and enjoy my one tomato while I wait.

Manuahi said...

Don't sweat the tax credits. They're meaningless. 99% of organic farmers won't achieve profitability and therefore will unable to use these credits. That's the beauty of tax credits vs. outright grants.

Anonymous said...

Ganja Farmer

It's all good if it's Green Aloha organic Pakalolo.

I mean it's all about the GREEN right.

Manuahi said...

That is....unless the State allows farmers who are sole proprietorships, C Corps, partnerships or LLC's to take the credits against their other non-farm income that actually supports them. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

@7:08 You still haven't shown that pesticides and pharmaceuticals are based on the same science

Anonymous said...

11:10 am

LMAO, Keep it clean! But I agree with your wager.

Anonymous said...

I love to piddle-diddle in my yarden and grow whatever I can for home use, as I have been doing for some 55 years, back from my 4-H kid time. In fact back in my prime, I had a YUge yarden. Used to haul chicken shit from Medeiros chicken farm, made compost with baggase from Olokele by the cubic yards. Best pile I made got up to 169F - it was smokin', turned out black gold in 18 days! Lots of work, turning those piles everyday.

But yes, 808am, you got it right, I had no illusions, nor desire of doing it for a living. Farming is THE toughest row to hoe, and that is why only 2% of the population does it for a living, either organically or not, and as Dr. Keyser points out, only 2.4% of which is organic, which means that only 4.8 people out of 10,000 people in the population farm organically in the U.S.A. Being that we have a population of about 60,000 on KAUAI, we are doing amazingly well here with at least 6 bona fide organic farmers, and arguably double that. So, not only organic farmers could use tax credits, all farmers do. It is unconscionable that our legislators discriminate against non-organic farmers by giving tax credits to only organic farmers, and rightfully expose themselves as pandering to a particular segment of those who feed us.

What bothers me is that according to the statistics, at 2% farmers out of a population of 60,000 on Kauai, we should have some 1,200 farmers (and I'm not talking yardners and gentlemen/women types), but we do not come anywhere near that because of the poor support of farmers by the public and government, what with all the rules, regulations, and ingratitude of and to the hands that feed them, particularly the non-organic farmers, who are producing perfectly good food. This situation of polarizing agriculture is demagoguery in the rawest form. For the sake of Kauai and the world, it needs to stop. Those who support and perpetuate it obviously do not have an understanding of the world food challenges and should refrain from making such irresponsible comments, and instead try to make positive contributions, rather that divide, spread fear and tear others apart. What kind of people are you, who are so angry, fearful, and righteous? With all this time on your hands, do something positive?

Funny story - sometime back I was a speaker at a "sustainable" (gosh I hate that word - it is so abused!) conference here on KAUAI, which was held in the middle of the day, with about a 150 in attendance. As a point of reference, I asked the audience how many were farmers? At least about 50 hands shot up! Now, mind you, this is in the middle of the day, when I know for a fact that real farmers would not think of wasting sunshine to pontificate sustainability!

Anonymous said...

@10:09

I think what you are trying to say is Green Aloha organic GMO pakalolo. Lolo.

Anonymous said...

Council members Kagawa and Kaneshiro are both against the County Managers system proposal, which puts them as the front runners in this election. Kudos to both for representing Kauai and not their personal interests.

Anonymous said...

No dummy it was sarcasm. You Donkey

Anonymous said...

It's all over this island.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the legislature, where the best (in terms of morality, temperament and wisdom) are selected by an informed (by media personalities posing as journalists) electorate.

Manuahi said...

Do you drink coffee? Did you know that caffeine is a chemical that the coffee plant produces solely as a pesticide? But hey! It's organic!

Anonymous said...

Kagawa is the only member who has his head screwed on right and thinks, speaks and acts solely for the benefit of the residents of Kauai. The others? Slick, smooth talking, untrustworthy double dealers, who use the system for self promotion and their special interest masters.