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When we hear from Hawaii Dairy Farms, why don’t they tell the rest of the story?

My wife and I live in Poipu. We support sustainable agriculture and want to see Kauai’s agricultural land used to produce food for Kauai, food that stays here and is sold here. My wife runs a 501(c)3 charity that distributes food to Kauai’s hungry children.

Honesty and integrity are the two most important pillars of success. Public trust is dependent on full disclosure. Ulu’pono and HDF spokesperson, Amy Hennessey, claimed to be presenting the facts about the proposed dairy farm for Mahaulepu. If that was her intent, I wonder why she did not share that HDF:

1) Does not have either approval or the permits required from the state to operate a dairy.

2) Intends to sell the milk produced in Mahaulepu to Meadow Gold, shipping it to Oahu per Ms. Hennessey, where it will be processed and bottled.

3) Will not have control over distribution of the milk after they sell it to Meadow Gold.

4) HDF was recently advised that the kikuyu grass they are planting will not grow well in Mahaulepu as that grass grows best above 500 feet in elevation, preferably in cooler climate conditions like that of Kokee.

5) It has been confirmed that the soil is primarily clay which is impermeable, will not drain but will runoff. Rainfall mixed with cow manure and urine will run off the clay into the newly cleaned out, open ditches that run to the ocean. The effluent ponds will only collect 10 percent or less of the cows’ waste. Ninety percent of the urine and manure will be left on the pastures daily.

HDF plans for a maximum herd of 2,000 dairy cows, meaning 200,000 pounds of manure and 16,000 gallons of urine will be produced every single day. That information regarding the volume of waste should be shared with Kauai residents.

Ms. Hennessey never explained how the odor from the manure left on the ground, the smell from the airborne particles when effluent is sprayed, or the smell from the high volume of ammonia from the urine could possibly be controlled. I would like to know this information as it will affect all of our property values and the livability of our homes. This in turn will affect the total taxes collected here on our island to pay for our already sorely lacking fiscal budget.

HDF’s foul odors will impact our tourist industry, once again taking money out of our county’s coffers. Less tourist dollars will mean poor roads, which will cause damage to our cars, and cut funding for our schools and senior programs.

This dairy plan is a large-scale industrial dairy, designed to produce 3.7 million gallons of milk per year. This milk, per Amy Hennessey, is already contracted to Meadow Gold. 

It will be up to Meadow Gold who the end user will be and in what form. Meadow Gold has a corporate office in China. China currently has a milk shortage. Google it.

This planned operation by Ulupono and HDF in the beautiful, pristine Mahaulepu Valley should never be permitted. I do not believe that our mayor, state, county, health department and residents should accept HDF’s plan or ever trust them to be good stewards of this precious natural resource, a protected habitat for many endangered plants and animals.

Really, must we wait until we have contaminated runoff creating a large algal bloom that suffocates our reef in Maha’ulepu to stop this insanity?

 

Jay Kechloian is a resident of Koloa.

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