Agriculture Says Aloha to Hawaiian Farmers

Hawaii’s economy heavily depends on the success of their agriculture. Raw sugar, pineapple, and molasses are the state’s primary source of income outside of tourism.

Statistics provided by the USDA

However, the recent boom of corporate farming has threatened the livelihood of smaller, local farms. Coupled with the daunting downslide of the economic collapse, native Hawaiian farmers — with crippled means — are competing for vital market space against massive corporations with mega budgets.

In a roundtable discussion with Hawaiian Business Magazine, Dean Okimoto, Naio Farms owner, and former Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation president Dean Okimoto explained the types of hurdles that native farmers currently face to compete with factory farms on the mainland: “I talked with some people about bringing back chickens [to Hawaii]. Just for the processing facility you’re looking at $30 million and you need an FDA inspector in there at all times,” said Okimoto. “That’s what makes the system not work for small farmers. Corporate farmers are the only ones that can afford this infrastructure. And that’s what we lack here in Hawaii. Agriculture is going to need that help going forward.”

To find out more about the challenges facing the Hawaiian agriculture industry, read the full article here: Agriculture says aloha to Hawaiian Farmers

Dave Barry to Deliver Keynote Address at American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Being Held in Honolulu Next Week

Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry will deliver the keynote address at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd annual meeting, Jan. 9, 2012, in Honolulu.

President of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Dean Okimoto, of Oahu takes a few minutes to help us understand his state, agriculture and the farming community he’s part of as the American Farm Bureau Federation gathers in Honolulu, HI.