I looked up the definition of “agricultural land use” and found that it was precise on what that is:
“Agricultural land is typically land devoted to agriculture, the systematic and controlled use of other forms of life — particularly the rearing of livestock and production of crops — to produce food for humans. It is thus generally synonymous with both farmland or cropland, as well as pasture or rangeland.”
So my questions to all the big landowners, such as Knudsen, Grove Farm, etc…, why is it, after giving leases to local families, all of whom are ranchers and farmers, that you took the land back and broke the contracts? Some of these families didn’t have their leases for even a year, but you took it all back. Is it because there is a much higher profit to lease your land to a company that grows trees, harvests, burns those trees and sells the electricity to KUIC?
This leads to my next question, which is to the state land board. If the definition of “agricultural land use” is to raise or produce food for human consumption, are these landowners still having the benefit of agricultural land use tax? Because in my mind and many others, they had lost this privilege when they stopped these families’ ability to grow and raise food.
Kauai County Council, are you aware of this? And what are you going to do about it? Kauai needs these farmers and ranchers to be able to raise and harvest for our sustainability. Being dependent on stores as the only source of food is not sustainability. It is just the opposite. Were we not working on the idea of allowing ranching families the ability to sell their meat at farmers’ markets as long as they follow all the rules?
People of Kauai, as you drive on our highway and on our county roads, such as Maluhia (tunnel of trees), look at the scenery. What you will not see is the usual cows or horses or farms but trees that will be planted and sold to us (via KIUC) to create electricity.
Living on Kauai is not getting better but worse for local people who have been here for generations. Others come here and only see profit and their own advancement with no regards to what they are destroying. But in this situation it’s old families that have been here just as long as we have but hires others to “manage” their land, virtually killing our struggle for sustainability.
Call the land use board, our County Council, our mayor, and ask “why?” And if they say that it’s their choice on how they use their land, well it’s only right they pay the taxes that are in line with the use, and it’s called “profit for us and screw the local people!”
Mae Rita Jardin is a Koloa resident.