Here is what I know and Here is what I don’t know…
Agriculture producers across Hawaii have faced destruction and decimation with many still facing an unknown future. As I wrote this article, Big Island had 23 earthquakes in 3 hours. People are overloaded, overwhelmed and emotional.
A few short weeks ago we saw flooding and devastation on Oahu and Kauai, with my friend Dean Okimoto’s farm left in ruins by rains. Fellow farm bureau members the Haraguchi’s farm at Hanalei Poi and their Rice Mill faced heartbreaking devastation to their farm, poi factory, Rice mill and museum. With a little help from farmers and friends, I hope Dean and the Haraguchi’s can rebuild and recover their farms.
You can donate to Nalo Farms Recovery Fund here.
Then SB 3095 passed in the State Legislature. Just like that, they managed to snatch a tool out of farmers toolbox. Despite the headlines, Chlorpyrifos doesn’t kill thousands per year; suicide does. A sad number is suicide by pesticide happens more than 200,000 times a year. Banning this pesticide harms floral, ginger and sweet potatoes producers. Then the Legislature added burden onto farmers who use RUP’s by requiring that they file additional pesticide use disclosure reports.
What does Sb 3095 mean? Well apparently, the reality of farming means very little to legislators, and the romantic perception prevails. Hawaii’s claim to fame is they get to be the first State in the US to ban this product which the Federal Government and the EPA allow.
Then Madam Pele started to rumble, and she is flowing from 18 ,Now 19 fissures in Puna. As of yesterday commerce, and agriculture is shut down in lower Puna.
More than 1200 cattle had to be evacuated from the Pahoa area. We knew it was coming, after speaking to fellow Hamakua Farm Bureau leader Jason Moniz we started the conversation with the County. Soon Dale Sandlin from Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council was in the thick of it. The livestock industry typically takes care of its own; this situation was no different. At one point there were five semi’s moving cattle out of Pahoa to staging areas.
As of today, we’ve evacuated over a thousand animals, provided support and facilitated animal evacuations for hundreds more. A special shout out to Jason Moniz, Dale Sandlin, and Tim Richards, none of this, could have happened without their help. The livestock industry was able to evacuate the majority of their animals; primarily because they know what it takes.
During the evacuations we started getting animal feed donated, when we realized that our ag producers had been able to absorb the additional head, we decided to make the feed available to the community’s benefit. Councilman Tim Richards drove a pallet load of dog food into Pahoa and distributed at the Community Hub and shelters. His text read I’m heading in now; my car looks like a clown car with this load. FYI he drives a big SUV so any time my day got rough I just pictured an enormous clown car loaded dog food donated by Cargill. A big Mahalo to Cargill, Animal Health International, Dal Sandlin with the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council , and Tim Richards.
We have another container of feed and supplies that is on its way thanks in Part to Matson Navigation and Animal Health International. Meanwhile Deranger Ingelheim and Animal Health International donated 3 Pallets of Alfalfa cubes to feed animals in the Panewa Equestrian Center. The generosity has been tremendous and allowed us to help care for evacuated animals.
What I don’t know… When Madam Pele will reach the ocean and When will lava quit flowing in Puna…