Maui Ag Bumper Sticker

Maui’s Farming Ban

Maui Ag Bumper StickerA few months ago the people of Maui County were given the opportunity to present testimony before the county council on a proposed ban on farming.  Here’s what I had to say:

Thank you for hearing testimony today.  My name is Rhonda Stoltzfus, and I’m here as a mom and agriculture enthusiast.  I have a bachelors degree in Horticulture from Iowa State University – specializing in the sustainable, organic production of fruits and vegetables.  I’m also married to the site lead of Monsanto’s operations here on Maui.  You might think this would be a conflict of interest, and it HAS led to many interesting conversations around our table over the last 20 years, but I’ve found we have far more common ground than differences between us.  We both have goals to increase yield, decrease inputs, and improve the soil.  After 15 years of a front row seat to Monsanto’s work, I have to say that my husband and his employer are doing an excellent job achieving the ideals we held when we both graduated from college.  I am in strong opposition to this ban on farming.  We are talking about the loss of over 600 jobs, many of them on the island of Molokai – an island that already suffers from high unemployment rates.  It doesn’t make sense to put 600 Maui families out of work in order to study something that has already been deemed safe by the EPA, FDA, USDA, American Medical Association, and the European Union.  Monsanto Maui is following the rules placed on farming by US regulatory agencies.  They employ SUCH safe practices on their farms, that when the time came to choose a home on this island, our family chose one across the street from Monsanto’s fields.  In the future I hope to see all types of farming on Maui co-exist.  I hope to see all of us, much like my husband and I do, sitting down to one table, able to respect the work we each undertake to feed the ever growing population of the world.  Thank you.

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