Highlights of the 2016 HFB convention Part 1

So much camaraderie, so many thoughtful insights….

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell: “Since little kid days, I’ve been a strong proponent of farming and ranching. That’s why I get so upset when I see people who don’t understand farming dictating to your industry what it should be doing.

Oahu has 32,000 acres of fallow ag land and “I don’t think it’s proper to have housing on that land.” In regards to the proposed Dillingham Ranch project, “I want to do everything I legally can to keep that in farming and ranching and not gentleman’s farms.”

The Oahu Important Ag Land designations should be completed by the end of the year.

HFB President Randy Cabral: “We need to have more people involved at the Legislature, whether it’s to call in, or write in or testify. Numbers do matter, including on the national level.”

HFB Executive Director Brian Miyamoto: “We’re taking every opportunity to get out there in the community because we are the voice of ag. We’re also trying to improve our (internal) communications.” The website will be updated to include a product directory, classified ads for agricultural services and products, and downloadable resources.

Cindy Goldstein, Membership Committee: “We want to reach out to organic farmers and young farmers to expand our membership.”

Janet Ashman, Environmental Stewardship Committee: “The public doesn’t equate spraying Raid, having chlorinated water or termite treatment with pesticides. They think pesticides are only used by ag, and that farmers are not using them safely. There’s a lot of education that needs to be done.”

Activists have used the new State Environmental Court to try to limit nationally-accepted agricultural practices, such as agricultural burning. They were unsuccessful, in this case.

The impact of endangered species laws on farmers is a topic that needs to be discussed here and across the country.

“Incoming invasive species is one of our most important issues.”

The State Dept. of Health wants to work with farmers to help them start or continue using recycled (treated waste) water while still meeting new FSMA (food safety) requirements.

HDOA report by Deputy Director Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser: In regard to the new multi-agency biosecurity plan, “We’re still going to look out for and work on ag pests, but there’s a pressing need for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to the issue.”

“We plan to start a food safety section in DOA with a manager and three staff. We will ask the Legislature for $5 million this year. We need to help new farmers, and (existing) farmers expand and deal with FSMA.”

“DOA is moving forward on the Kauai Joint Fact-Finding Group recommendations. Working with DOH and USGS, we will do surface water monitoring for pesticides, including ag surface water, golf courses and developed areas. We will look at Oahu and Kauai first. We have 60 potential sites….we’ve started the planning process.”

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui: In presenting the HFB with a proclamation, he noted: “Ag is so important in our community. It’s because of the Farm Bureau that even with the HC&S closure on Maui we can continue to look for different ways of farming, diversified ag, other opportunities. Thank you for your leadership.”

House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Sylvia Luke: Though farmers have thanked lawmakers for passing the bill that allows revocable water permit holders three years to secure long-term leases, “We actually want to thank you folks for giving us the strength to do our job.”

Honored Farmers and Friends
Senator Mike Gabbard and Representative Ryan Yamane were awarded Legislators of the Year.

Sean O’Keefe and Janet Ashman of Maui were honored with the Outstanding Farm Family award. In accepting the award, presented by Maui pineapple farmer Darren Strand, Janet said: “It’s wonderful to have met and to work with such kind, caring and dedicated people. This award should go to all of you, because farmers need to be more appreciated.”

Rick Volner, Jr. was awarded Outstanding Active Member, and Don Young was named Outstanding Friend of Farmer.