Farmers Ain’t Farming If They Have to Defend Their Work



No sooner did Representative Chris Lee state that the anti-pesticide laws he was proposing would not affect the small farmer, he flip flops and proposes this vague bill that indeed does affects all farms. That is extremely disappointing.

Here we had the Washington, D.C. based Center for Food Safety in town throwing chat sessions and dinners proposing increasing our local food supply. Instead of going into the agricultural community to learn about Hawaii’s ag systems and stakeholders, they show their true colors by going straight for the legislature. They want direct conflict instead of collaboration apparently. The same applies to their request to join Earthjustice to defend the Big Island county lawsuit also. Their actions clearly show that they aren’t about working together but about creating constant conflict.

If these activists groups, not advocacy groups, really want to get more people on the farms, adding vague legislation with no parameters based upon data only makes reaching that goal even more difficult. Farmers are already subject to Federal and state laws in every single aspect of their work. No one wants added legislation without due cause and should be justifiable with data.

If anything, legislators really need to consider all the consequences of adding more burdens upon farmers and considering all aspects of any and all proposed laws. If CFS and Rep. Lee are really worried about pesticides, it’s only just if they consider all of the data available.

I suggest starting by looking at the whole picture, specifically at who are the users of pesticides and its impacts. It’s not just to only pinpoint a single user if the initial defined issue is clear. In this case, the state would be essentially having another Kauai Bill 2491 episode on their hands. Do we really want that again? Did it help our communities with their real concerns or just drive another stake of divisiveness rooted in fear and misinformation? Is the goal to kill ag in Hawaii?

If the CFS were really sincere about people’s health and issues with agricultural pesticides, also know as crop protection products, they would’ve had fundraisers to conduct studies to collect data to back up their cause. Instead, this group used a whole lot of money, likely over $100k or more, to bring in Vandana Shiva to our communities. She doesn’t speak with facts and only indoctrinated people with her ideology. CFS also would have invested more wisely in having a true scientist work for them to get the facts across to protect people as they claim. If they aren’t happy with what the state is doing, use those resources and actually collect the data and work with others to fulfill those promises.

The sad fact is being pointed out that Hawaii is being used as a pawn in all of this. The attorneys for these groups claim that they are being “smeared,” but fail to look at their own websites and associations and the smearing they have funded over the course of their existence. These people thrive on divided communities and creating conflict. Is that really pono?

My dad and brother are that 1.5% that want to farm. They work long hours and come home achy, tired, and sore, but they go back to it everyday, year after year. It is their passion and appreciation from their long time customers that reinvigorates their drive to farm. It keeps them going and sustains them.

Farmers don’t complain about their work and have a deep love for what they do. They don’t have the luxury of flexible hours like 10-4 or have to guard their yoga
hour like CFS’ Ashley Lukens’ workday. They want to be out there in their fields getting produce grown and not at the legislature or at a hostile neighborhood board meeting or in a courtroom defending their life’s work. Nor do farmers get paid to fly island to island to join a social protest.

I want to see our family farm thrive under my brother’s leadership and possibly in my kids’ hands. Farming is in our blood and has been for decades. Isn’t it time that we start listening to the farmers?



3 thoughts on “Farmers Ain’t Farming If They Have to Defend Their Work

  1. Well said Joni! I have been farming in Hawaii for 41 years. I get up one hour before dawn (which is actually sleeping in from the days that I used get up to deliver watercress at 3 am), walk and work the fields every day, combat the most recent new pest that has infiltrated our porous quarantine system, and go to bed at 9 pm so that I have enough energy to get up and do it all over again.

    These are basically rhetorical questions but, do the anti-modern ag people think that farmers like to spray? Do they think that when we get up in the morning our first thought is, “Hey, I get to spray some poison today!” The answer is not unless it is the solution of last resort and then it is only very reluctantly, to protect our livelihood that we do so! Modern ag crop protection chemicals can cost well over $1,000/gallon. This, along with keeping our applicators and handlers safe, are major concerns when it comes to using pesticides. And we never ever spray close to schools, hospitals, or houses! Those sprays are put on by others.

    So legislators (if you are reading this blog), if you want to have an impact on pesticide applications that may put the general population at risk you need to expand your vision outside of agriculture. Those of us in agriculture know that there is no skirting the law. There’s just too much at stake to do that!

    • Exactly John! It’s against all logic to even see how off kilter the accusations are. It’s downright disgusting. My dad and their crew bust their butts as well as all the other farmers I know and it’s a disgrace that they are being subjected to these kinds of attacks. No more. Time for the truth to come out.

  2. Who will help the most hard’s working people in the world, these farmers who work 24/7 just to make a living and to do what they love… If people who make these laws don’t even believe in farming or these farmer…who will listen and help???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s