An Update from the Farm
As promised, we're now able to share our plans with you. It's important to highlight key points, though we invite you to visit our website to learn more.
We are committed to providing fresh, local milk for Hawaii's families. Hawaii Dairy Farms is about bringing local milk to local people at prices we can all afford. All of our milk will stay in Hawaii.
We are contributing to a diversified economy. A healthy economy requires many sectors, from the visitor industry to retail, agriculture and more. These sectors all have costs to be mitigated and benefits to be maximized. By going beyond regulatory requirements and using a solid, well-researched business plan, we are establishing an agricultural business on Kauai that ensures viability for the long-term while also making sure that there will be exceptional benefits. Our farm will help strengthen Kauai's economic fabric and the agricultural sector through job creation, economic diversity, environmental protection and food security.
We are listening. We've modified many of our plans to address concerns raised by the community and we thank those who have been constructively engaged in the process.
We are starting small. The first phase of the dairy will be just 650-699 milking cows or about 1.5 cows per acre, similar to other Kauai ranches and previous ranching in Mahaulepu valley. This will demonstrate how the pastoral dairy system is more effective and protective than dairies of the past. To prepare for the future, we will obtain permits to expand our operations at a later time.
We are farming responsibly to protect the environment. We understand the community's love and concern for Mahaulepu and, in keeping with Ulupono Initiative's mission and values, we will protect and preserve it. The farm is designed to be zero-discharge. Nutrients from the manure fertilize the grass and build healthy soil. Fifty-foot setbacks between pasture, fence and waterway ensure all nutrients stay on the pasture where they belong. Nutrients will not leave the farm or flow into the streams and groundwater.
We are going beyond compliance. We've expanded the capacity of our effluent ponds to hold more than 100 days of storage in phase one. That’s well beyond the regulatory requirement. We have also added a secondary containment berm with an additional 30 days of storage. There has been no storm event since rainfall has been recorded in Mahaulepu valley that would exceed the phase one capacity of the effluent ponds.
We can prove it. We will monitor water quality on a regular basis to assess and maintain the effectiveness of our irrigation, nutrient management and conservation practices.
We are controlling odor. The effluent ponds will be aerated on a consistent schedule to control odor. In addition, a windbreak/shelterbelt, which utilizes rows of trees, will be planted along the prevailing wind pattern of the effluent ponds to mitigate any odor from traveling off the farm. We are also 2.5 miles away from our nearest neighbors.
We respect the regulators. We continue to work with the Hawaii Department of Health and the County of Kauai to ensure we are meeting and exceeding all requirements under federal, state and county law. Upon issuance of a positive review from the Department of Health, Hawaii Dairy Farms will be authorized to build the first phase of the dairy.
We will defend our local farmers. We will work to protect our local farming community from being harmed by misguided legal attempts to impede animal farming on agricultural lands.
We encourage you to base your opinion on facts, not fear. Read our plan on our website and let's have a conversation based on facts, mutual respect and openness rather than the intent to shut down viable business ventures that increase local food production.
We are in the right place. Mahaulepu valley was selected because the community designated it for agricultural use in the General Plan. As Important Agricultural Lands, it is intended for farming and has all of the elements needed for a dairy. It is entirely appropriate for a viable farming business model like Hawaii Dairy Farms to be there. Also, our supporters, particularly those who are multi-generational, lifelong residents of the Koloa-Poipu area care deeply for Mahaulepu. Many are themselves farmers and ocean people, and know the area and the Kauai environment well. These individuals are well informed and would never want to harm Kauai. For opponents to suggest otherwise is not only inaccurate but also insulting to these local residents and us.
We appreciate your support. Mahalo to the many Kauai people with whom we've met and who continue to support this dairy, other farming ventures, and local food. Together we hope to create a sustainable dairy model so that we all have access to locally produced food and a strong agricultural industry for generations to come.
To learn more and stay in touch, please visit www.HawaiiDairyFarms.com.
Mahalo again for your support and continued interest. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Amy Hennessey, APR
Director of Communications
Hawaii Dairy Farms and Ulupono Initiative