Too many things don’t add up for HDF

On May 11, the HDF guest commentary read, “Look at facts about the Dairy Farm. Did its author, Amy Hennessey, spokeswoman for Hawaii Dairy Farms, tell the public that two days later Hawaii Dairy Farms would be filing their revised Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) with large portions marked confidential? Was the public told that Hawaii Dairy Farms would not release any facts about how much manure and urine would be deposited on the clay-based soil of their proposed farm? Did Ms. Hennessey share that the public would not have access to any information about their intended management of their effluent ponds (the collecting point for the 8-10 percent of urine and manure washed off the milking barn and raceways)? Yes, we can Google the waste production of dairy cows but what have they reported to the state?

Mahaulepu is a rare treasure for Kauai. The nearby coast is a favored destination point for many thousands of tourists per year as well as island residents. The resorts on the Poipu coast employ more than 1,000 people (1,000 at the Hyatt Resort alone) The dairy plans to employ only 10 to 15 people. When they invite the public to look at the facts, why does Hawaii Dairy Farms feel it’s fair to keep critical facts from the public?

We do know that they are not covering their effluent ponds but we don’t know, from their release of the most recent CNMP, how much manure and urine will be produced daily or how many flies will come. Their plan doesn’t reveal how the flies will be managed. An industrial entomologist who lives in Princeville, Carlos White, has written to county officials as well as to The Garden Island. He doesn’t live or work near the dairy but was very concerned about the waste production and the swarms of flies that would be attracted to and breed on the waste produced and purposefully left on their pasture areas. In the portion of the plan that was disclosed, HDF revealed that they had finally tested the soil on the farm site in April 2014. The soil type is key to grass production that is intended to provide 70 percent of the herd’s feed. It is also key to absorption of the waste dropped by the cows. Is the belated testing, which confirmed at least 75 percent of their pasture land is on clay-based soil, consistent with the dairy’s claim that this dairy has been five years in the planning phase? When one reads what has been disclosed, even more concern is raised about what has been marked confidential, because of the misstatements found, for instance: HDF’s new plan reports, “The average local temperature is in the ideal 43 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit range for Kikuyu.” 

All who live here know that statement is false. The actual average air temperatures in Mahaulepu range between 69-77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer months, however, there are many days in Mahaulepu in the high 80s and even a few in the low 90s. Kikuyu grass is not reported to grow well in the actual temperature ranges of Mahaulepu.

A recent letter suggested that the permits for the dairy be expedited. Why? The current plan is still for 2,000 cows to graze on approximately 450 acres, with all 2,000 spread over just 24 acres per day to allow grass regeneration, assuming the kikuyu makes it. Should an operation of this magnitude with the potential for serious impact to the environment of Mahaulepu and our economy really be rushed? We know from earlier articles and their initial plan for the dairy was in error in at least three respects; rainfall, wind direction and soil type in Mahaulepu. What is the rush? Why not tell the public the truth about the impact the proposed dairy will have, especially when heavy rains are experienced or when flies each lay 1,000 eggs at a time, manure being one of their favorite sites? Grove Farm owns 33,000 acres on Kauai. Is there no where else that this dairy can be more appropriately located?

 

• David DeZerega is a resident of Koloa.

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