It is so easy to sit back on a computer and have your opinion about how you want your food grown. You have a comfy chair to sit on, a nice computer with a quick internet connection, a fan to keep you cool, and a well stocked refrigerator to sustain you as you comment away on the social media. That is how you are going to change the world to get farmers to grow food your way. No. Never.
It is so easy for Jessica Wooley, Russell Ruderman, Mike Gabbard, Tulsi Gabbard, Gary Hooser, Billy Kenoi, and Brian Schatz to dictate the policies that they want done for agriculture because they have nice cushy offices and are guaranteed a paycheck, courtesy of the taxpayers. They would rather stay in those positions then be on a farm any day. Why do you think they are in office to begin with? Farming is just too laborious and risky, while political office is a clean, stable position for life.
As much as these politicians are the listening to the public’s opinions, they have no qualms in ignoring the farmers, ranchers, and scientists testimonies on the future of agriculture. We’ve seen that what is found on the internet and repeated as truths is much more valuable then the experiences of people who tend and till the land. They have no say in the issue and are at the mercy of an uninformed public fear mongered beyond belief. That is the direction that Hawaii is heading when we only consider public opinions for laws.
Our leaders talk about how they want to grow our ag industry in Hawaii but their actions speak otherwise. Laws upon laws have become huge burdens on our farmers. From business regulations, taxes, federal food safety laws, labor laws, county laws, and state laws all weigh upon these farmers who are growing food and cultivating the land. We also can’t forget the outside factors that affect farmers too including energy costs, shipping costs, and being at the mercy of the weather. These regulations may seem helpful on the outside but make the business and practice of farming less and less attractive. With all the anti-technology laws being placed upon them also by Kauai and Hawaii county, how much more can these farmers take when potential tools are being kept from them? What can our farmers do when their hands become tied by the wishes of ignorant politicians and an ignorant public?
As we see more and more farms closing down because of the regulations that our leaders have placed upon them, we get to thank each politician for being responsible for the demise of these farms. The younger generations do not want to continue family farms because it just is too burdensome. Would you take a job where your income isn’t guaranteed and bad weather can wipe out your entire crop? What if the bugs eat up all of your crops and you can’t even use a tool that could help it because some politician said that you can’t? Imagine having a job where you have to know everything about the tax, labor, and food safety laws to a tee to stay in business. Not only do you have to manage those issues but you also have to physically work hard to get your product out to your consumers also. Lastly, you are subject to criticism, thievery and even threats of crop destruction as part of your job description. That sure doesn’t sound like a very attractive job to me at all. Our politicians have decided that this is the route they want to take with agriculture with their recent actions. That’s the Hawaii that our leaders apparently want for our future of farming in our islands.