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July 14, 2014

An Update from the Farm

We've been quiet as we work through the iterative process for our permits and approval, but we appreciate your continued interest and feel it is important to let you know a few things that are happening.

First, before you read about it in The Garden Island tomorrow, we are deeply disappointed that Kawailoa Development LLP, the owners of the Grand Hyatt and Poipu Bay Golf Course, has decided to sue for injunctive relief against Hawaii Dairy Farms. Our team has worked hard with the County of Kauai, Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Department of Health to follow the regulatory review process to ensure our plans meet and exceed all requirements in an effort to create a dairy that is a model for sustainability and environmental quality, making productive use of Important Agricultural Lands. We believe this suit is utterly without merit. The nuisance claim is wholly premature, as the dairy has not yet been built.

Under the Hawaii constitution, all agricultural operations that are approved by regulators under Hawaii law are guaranteed the freedom to farm without being challenged as a nuisance. This is a cynical attempt by Kawailoa Development LLP to create a 2.5-mile buffer zone around its property, even though the Poipu Bay Golf Course, utilized by the Grand Hyatt, is located on agricultural land that was the subject of a case that went all the way to the Hawaii Supreme Court to reclassify it in 1988. This suit embodies the concerns about future rights to farm shared during those hearings.

Kawailoa Development LLP’s unreasonable demand for our agricultural operation to undergo an environmental assessment is a gross overreach of the law by the very law firm that refused to do an environmental assessment for the Hawaii Superferry. If successful, this legal action essentially sets a precedent that will end all animal agricultural operations in the state that use effluent impoundments including pig farms, chicken farms, dairy farms and ranching. This is a malicious attack on local food by commercial resort interests. In its zeal to protect its narrow commercial interests, it is clear Kawailoa Development doesn’t care about the public good and ensuring our state’s ability to produce local food for its residents and the visitors who come to our islands.

We intend to fight this insidious attack on local food on behalf of all of Hawaii agriculture, because we care about the future of farming and we also care about the right for families on all of our islands to have fresh local milk.

Second, I wanted to clarify the discussion in the news about the confidentiality used in our latest submission to the Department of Health. We placed portions of that document under confidentiality to protect our ability to negotiate important contracts for the operations of the farm. As with everything we do, we are working to create a dairy that can provide fresh, local milk at prices we can all afford. It has always been our intention to share the full plan with the public as soon as we could. We will be unveiling the rest of it this week, so expect another update from us soon.


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