Hawaii: New dairy slowed, another wants lower milk price

Hawaii is known to many as one of the most beautiful places on earth. With great views and fast-growing pasture for cows, you could imagine it is a dairyman's paradise, too.

But with just two operating dairies in the state, it would seem there much be room for a third.

According to Kawailoa Development, owner of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &; Spa, its business, recreational, environment,and aesthetics would be detrimentally affected by a proposed farm. The potential 582 acre site with 1,800 milking cows would be less than three miles from the resort, according to TheGardenIsland.com.

Kawailoa is attempting to create a 2.5-mile "buffer zone" around its land through a lawsuit, even though its own golf course is on agricultural land and was part of a 1998 Supreme Court classification on its property, in the southeast corner of the island of Kauai - one of Hawaii's westernmost islands.

Big Island Dairy wants lower price

Meanwhile, on Hawaii's easternmost big island, the Island of Hawai'i, Big Island Dairy is asking for something most dairy producers wouldn't want - lower prices.

The dairy, a 1,400 acre and 900 cow operation with plans to expand to 1,100, 1,800, and 2,200 cows, said it wanted to be competitive with the mainland milk that comprises 80% of Hawaii's supply.

Currently, the minimum price on the Big Island is $3.06 a gallon, and on the island of Oahu it's between $2.36 and $2.71, fluctuating on California's milk price.

But the other dairy on the island, Cloverleaf Dairy, fears what the lower price could mean for competition.

A fourth entity, Mauna Kea Moo, was approved March 17 for a 200 cow farm and creamery on a 1,400 acre Big Island parcel. That farm plans to build a cheese plant.

Sources: WestHawaiiToday.com, Washington Times