I have been a farmer on Maui for more than 50 years. I have grown livestock, poultry, vegetables, trees and pineapple.
I remember when we grew most of what we ate. We had two dairies, multiple pig and chicken farms, lots of vegetable farms, and every large ranch had a slaughterhouse.
I am opposed to the bill that was recently introduced in the County Council because it is anti-local ag. We can still import our food from Mexico, the Mainland and South America without the scrutiny that we have now on Maui.
Sure, we farmers made mistakes in conservation and the way we used pesticides, but we changed. Now we have a battle with the little fire ants instead.
The state Department of Health is cutting our funds for a conservation specialist, while we are trying to move responsibility for genetically modified organisms and pesticides, to the feds, the farmers, state Department of Agriculture and the County Council. Who has the expertise to do this job and who has the funds to administer it? We used to have a pesticide trainer on Maui and many more good Department of Ag employees to regulate and train us. Now, it has cut its staff and there are very few.
We would rather be regulated by science than politicians.
No wonder kids don't want to go into farming now - it is not only hard work, it is not always profitable and you have to fight bills like this.