Friday, April 29, 2016

Musings: End Goal

The Guardian has posted a new bit of fantasy about Hawaii, this time efforts to secure land redistribution through agricultural utopianism.

As I've been saying all along, this “aloha aina” movement is a thinly disguised attempt to wrest control of land, and thus power, from those who currently have it. 

Problem is, those orchestrating the movement are characterized by a striking ignorance of agriculture, no moral compass or both. And it's still unclear who is putting up the dough, and what they expect in return.

In the category of striking ignorance, we have Tiare Lawrence, a Maui fashion designer who fancies herself an “activist for farmers,” even though a piece she wrote for Civil Beat shows she knows nothing about ag. 

Tiare's featured prominently in The Guardian piece, first whining about mono-cropping — uh, hello, what do you think the Hawaiians were doing with taro? — before casting out this laughable gem:

A lot of families want to return home and farm but they need water to do that, and HC&S still keep most of the water for themselves.

Does anyone actually believe that the folks who fled the high cost of living in the Islands for Las Vegas, Portland, Cali and points beyond are really waiting to give up their mainland homes, jobs and lives so they can come back and eke out a marginal existence farming in Hawaii? Dream on.

The article then quotes Rep. Kaniela Ing, who also disses mono-cropping, while simultaneously promoting hemp, which only has a prayer economically if it's grown on an “industrial” scale, and even then, it's questionable.

The article goes on to report that “Monsanto is thought to be casting an avaricious eye on the 36,000 acres about to come up for grabs.” 

First, the land isn't “coming up for grabs.” It still belongs to A&B. And second, the seed companies are shrinking, not expanding, their footprint in the Islands. But hey, nothing works to rally the fearful and ignorant like the big Monsanto demon.

The Guardian piece is filled with the same sort of one-side fabrication and revisionism hat characterized Chris Pala's Guardian piece on how GMO agriculture had supposedly caused a “spike in birth defects” — a claim that even the biased Joint Fact-Finding report put to rest.

But it is revealing to see the true motives finally laid out there, instead of hidden behind the veneer of "saving" taro farmers, the keiki and Maui itself. The article ends with this quote from Ing:

This is is an opportunity for these historically greedy missionary families who created the sugar industry to … give back what is owed to the people of Maui.

If that's the end goal, better find another approach. Because neither the Maui Tomorrow "Malama Aina" plan nor the "Maui Community Organic Farmland" ag land condemnation initiative will achieve it.

Speaking of condemnation, it's good that people reacted so strongly against the Salt Pond monk seal attack, resulting in a speedy arrest.

Still, it's not helpful when people like Sabra Kauka offer opinions without knowing the situation:

She said sometimes this kind of aggression toward the Hawaiian Monk Seals stems from the commercial fishing community and the mindset that the seals are stealing the fish from their nets.

That's quite an aspersion to cast upon commercial fishers, especially when the perp isn't one.

I hope this incident does encourage everyone to look at the real cause for these actions: the culture of violence and substance abuse in which we live. People who abuse animals tend to abuse people, and often they have been abused, too. Drugs and alcohol make it all worse. These things don't happen in a vacuum, and they won't end unless we all decide violence simply isn't acceptable.


Anonymous said...

keep on writing ms. joan....slowly and effectively, people are figuring out what's going on.

Anonymous said...

Its not the commercial fishermen that is affected by the seals. Its the shoreline fishermen that is heavily impacted by the damn seals.

Allan Parachini said...

I believe it is well established that the Hawaiian monk seals do not cause any consequential disruptions of fishing operations. This is an old bromide that has never been valid and isn't now. But put the shoe on the other flipper and it's certainly true that commercial fishing makes it more difficult for the seals to find the food they need. To anticipate another bizarre misconception, no, seals do not eat three times their weight in fish every day, as some fisherman still claim. Think about it. That would mean that a large adult seal weighing about 650 pounds would be eating about a ton of fish every day. If a horse, which generally weighs more, goes through 10 to 12 pounds of feed per day, it should tell you that the seals are simply eating what they need to survive. And if the seal population in the main and northwest Hawaiian Islands is in the 1,100 range, their diet isn't doing any damage to the fishing industry.

Anonymous said...

Felony crime for beating up a seal? Don't you think that is a little harsh?

Joan Conrow said...

No, I don't. Beating animals is totally unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Give the seal beater 5 years.

Lisa said...

Anonymous, the monk seal is an endangered species, protected by the Endangered Species Act, and a marine mammal, protected by the Marine Mammal Act. That's why it's a felony. Hawaiian Monk Seals are federally protected species, as are all marine mammals.

Anonymous said...

Why is it the Hawaiians had words for every fish, plant and bird, but NO word for the Monk Seal?
Some surmise that the seal wasn't around way back then.
Beating anything is a bad thing and the Monk Seal is a great animal, but there is some confusion of whether the seal was introduced as part of the Illuminati World Order or not.
The Hawaiians of yesteryear may not have seen them or had them on their menus.

Anonymous said...

hawaiian name for seal is llio holo I ka uaua and what kind of person attacks a seal ?

Anonymous said...

If they were here they would have been on the menu. Like the nene their bones don't show up either.

Anonymous said...

Why would the illuminati world order bring monk seals to Hawaii and are you really that paranoid?

Anonymous said...

That seal beater was a punk ass bitch cracky trying to impress his friends. Nice hickie on his neck.

Anonymous said...

were dogs 'on the menu' ?

John Kauai said...

Why are the Ag companies leaving?

I know I'm going to catch it for this, but when Bob Streit was here he hypothesized that several consecutive years of glyphosate use could, under the right conditions, cause a collapse in yields. He presented some subjective evidence to that effect. (Subjective means, of course, it needs to be reviewed with that fact in mind.)

I'm not saying this is what is happening. But I'm not willing to accept (what I believe will be the "common sense" answer) that they are leaving because of Public Pressure.

I'd be happy to see evidence on both questions.

Possibly, they have begun to realize that GMO is a failure? -or-
GMO just isn't profitable any longer? -or-
they know that global warming is going to devastate Kauai's rainfall? -or-
they've found cheaper land that hasn't been used up and/or has fewer restrictions on chemical use?

Maybe something else?


Joan Conrow said...

John: They've been reducing the amount of acreage they lease for a number of reasons, none of which have to do with public pressure (despite Hooser's claims) or soil fertility or the other things you mentioned. It's all economics: corporate mergers that create a duplication of operations; low international commodity prices that have temporarily reduced demand for all seed, not just GMO; consolidation of operations onto one island from two, etc. About half of what is produced in the Islands is traditional hybrid seed, so that further undermines your GMO-based arguments. As for Streit, these companies are producing parent seed so they're more focused on top quality than quantity (yield). In some cases they are asked to grow out small trials to test the viability of various traits for international seed breeders so they're looking for results, not yield.

I hope some of the seed folks who are better versed in this than I will elaborate further.

John Kauai said...

Thanks Joan.

I was aware of the collapse of commodity prices. The guy who rents our land in MN (I don't think it is the same as what is happening here, but who knows) is a family friend for 30+ years. One of the last "family farmers" in America even at 3000+ acres. "Family farms" have changed a lot in the last 50 years. So much so that discussing it here would just lead to a lot of confusion since there are way too many variables to measure it by.

Except to know whether or not or friend is successful. However, even that gets complicated.

I did not know that 1/2 of Kauai seed was hybrid. Thanks.

WRT Streit, parent seed that doesn't produce an expected yield is going to be abandoned. At least i sure would. (Well, I can also imagine development of some new trait that could be hybrided a second time (third?) to put the yield back up.) It would have to be a really amazing trait.

I do appreciate your final argument that they are looking for traits other than yield. Just pointing out that analysis becomes more complicated then.

I'm looking forward to additional input from "seed folks".

Anonymous said...

Yeah why that woman saying commercial fishermen is bad. I wonder where she buys her poke or food from? The store brah she no live off her grass in her yard. No can dis woman! Selling out for the monk seal protectors. What is her agenda really?

Joan Conrow said...

John, just to clarify, yield may indeed be one of the traits they are looking for. What I meant is that the seed companies are not seeking to maximize production per acre, like a commodities farmer, so you can't really compare their operations with, say, a mainland beans and corn farmer. Most of the seed plots are very small, and they are constantly rotating fields, so it's actually much less intensive agriculture than is practiced elsewhere — despite the claims that the antis like to make.

Also, my best friend also has a family farm in Illinois that is more than 3,000 acres so we have had many discussions about how farms have changed, and the many misperceptions that people have about "corporate farms" and "industrial farms" and "family farms," and how those terms aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

Joan Conrow said...

Also, John, as a friend pointed out, your comment, "I did not know that 1/2 of Kauai seed was hybrid," isn't quite correct. All of the seed produced is hybrid, but only about half has GM traits. Most of the corn being grown here is inbreds.

John McHugh said...

The majority of seed corn production in Hawaii is inbred parent lines used to produce hybrid seed at other locations worldwide. In addition to the parental lines there is also nursery production. This type of production is characterized by small plots that are grown for a variety of reasons e.g. research or breeder material. It is strange that there is a notion that glyphosate, aka Roundup, would be responsible for reducing seed production. Roundup is not normally used in seed production. Yes, there may be Roundup Ready GMO products that are being grown but the vast majority is not sprayed with Roundup. If it was it would be killed. The points you made Joan about the low prices of worldwide commodity markets for grain seed is right on target. That's what it all boils down to, economics. So what you see are mergers as seed companies vie to come up with efficiencies so that can keep their businesses profitable. However, the government looks very closely at the mergers in order to determine whether the mergers would create any monopoIies that would give the companies any unfair business advantages.

I don't see the seed business disappearing from Hawaii. Especially on Oahu where the land that the companies are growing their crops is mostly owned. Yes, there is some leased land on Oahu but there is more owned land than leased land. To observe how this land is managed Pioneer Parent Seed in Waialua has set up demonstration plots that are used to educate any number and variety of school and community groups. They are currently working with the Go Farm Hawaii program at the University of Hawaii by providing land with high quality well water to those participants that are ramping up their commitment to farming and food production. These are the kind of community oriented activities that rarely get public attention but that occur on a daily basis as part of the overall farming process in Hawaii. It's not just about the seed. It is about community and how the seed companies can partner with the community for common and shared goals and values.

Anonymous said...

And none of the stuff grown on Kauai is destined for human consumption - cattle feed, ethanol and high fructose corn syrup. I have seen the bags of corn being shipped out. It is all stamped "not for human consumption". I work for a shipper that handles this stuff Joan, trust me I see this stuff all the time.

Joan Conrow said...

@3:39. We've been through this before. That's because it's a seed crop that's produced here, not a commodities crop. It's intended to be grown out for food elsewhere, not eaten directly.

Anonymous said...

Kauai itself is a commodity as we sell the idolized dream vacation and we export dreams and aloha, but hey, no commodity allowed, nixes tourism too.

Anonymous said...

It's really scary to see 3:39 repeat Gary's bullshit word for word. Or is it Gary himself?

Anonymous said...

I see Joanne has another tax she cannot resist. The County spends money for roads so poorly they could take all of our money and we would be in the same rut. When talking about the State, the Feds said that it takes planners in Hawaii 10 times longer than the average to do ordinary and improved roadwork compared to other States. There is simply no sense of need, over inspection, sheer laziness,an unwillingness to make contractors finish the job, or sense of proportion as we saw so clearly recently in Lihue. I mean Haleko Road is still not finished, Nawiliwili Hwy is still unfinished, and the Water Department found a need to tear up Kuamalii a month after the stretch was finally finished. Insanity.

Anonymous said...

GMO toxic soups and smart meter radiation makes Kauai and its people lab rats.

Anonymous said...

True, 12:00 PM, more and more of Kauai's newcomers seem to be rats, not lab rats though.

Anonymous said...

It's called CASHING in. Campaign donors and supporters getting paid off for getting their slaves in office.

The county also said that it would cost 1 Billion dollars to build another Wailua bridge but less than 10 years ago the old bridge Wailua bridge and another was build for an opening bid of 9 million then after the greed came into play, the cost was nearly 50 million dollars. So that's more than 5X it's original price tag. If a homeowner planned to build a house on their lot and the GC estimated that it would cost 200K-300K and that was the agreed price on the contract then when it's built the contractor tells the home owner price just went up to 1 million to 1.5 million, I believe that their would be lawsuits filed for breach of contract.

The county and its union campaign donors get a free pass because everyone is getting money and it's not their money, it's tax dollars and if they need more money then they just come up with more BS and have their propaganda paper TGI sell their BS proposals to increase taxes.

Every year the same game is played just like the county slate for unqualified Dept heads. The county BS that they need to attract and retain top talent is almost stupid as a 150 million dollar bike path.

80K for bus stop shelters, 2 million for Kilauea gym roof, millions for consultants to do the job that are considered top talent in county Dept head positions, a billion dollar bridge, a increase in tax for bus service that 99.9% of Kauai don't use, no drug rehab center, no new solid waste site, 1500 county employees, a budget of over 200 million a year that increases almost 10 million a year with a stupid mayor in office, council and budget commission rubber stamping nepotism budget increases, and all of this from a popular mayor.

Get the F outta hea!!!! Kauai deserves better than this BS. F'in Clowns. People work 2 and 3 jobs with no new roads, no new affordable housing, no improvement in county services, no drug center because in paradise drugs is not considered a problem with this admin and council, no relief for the county triple taxing people, and we still have 2 more years of this crap from a full if crap mayor. F him and his cronies.

Anonymous said...

@9:01 p.m. I agree with you that the "top talent" reasoning is BS. There are many talented county employees (you don't see them though because they're too busy working to be seeking out recognition for it) who could do these jobs, and are probably getting paid half what some of these guys make. But, If you're frustrated about not having a drug rehab or solid waste site, it's the Council (specifically Joann Yukimura) you should be looking at. At every meeting when these two items have come up, she has been vehemently negative, and finds every excuse in the book not to move forward on either.