After nearly two years of evaluation and technical work by experts, Hawaii Dairy Farms, a 699-cow operation on the island of Kauai funded by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Honolulu investment firm Ulupono Initiative, has now entered the final stages. Hawaii Dairy Farms submitted its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to the State of Hawaii Department of Health for determination of acceptability.
“This Final Environmental Impact Statement shows that our model – the state’s first pasture-based dairy – is safe and protective of the environment and Kauai’s special way of life. At the committed herd size of 699 mature dairy cows and any future possible expansion, the FEIS demonstrates that there is no significant impact to resort, commercial, residential or recreational areas,” said Amy Hennessey, APR, spokesperson for Hawaii Dairy Farms, in a recent release.
The FEIS demonstrates many positive impacts of the dairy, including:
- Soil quality will be improved
- Water resources will be appropriately protected
- A long-standing agricultural industry will be revitalized, creating jobs
- Home values and resort areas will not be negatively impacted
- Archaeological and cultural resources will not be affected
- Cows will be treated with a high standard of care
The FEIS comprises nine volumes of content and is the result of countless hours of work by expert consultants. Community comments were addressed and incorporated.
“We prepared the EIS voluntarily to share the detailed planning put into designing a world-class, environmentally sound dairy suitable to Hawaii’s environment,” said Hennessey. “Our commitment to start the farm with no more than 699 mature dairy cows remains steadfast. However, the EIS analysis of the contemplated herd size of up to 2,000 cows will provide essential guidance for any possible future permit application and community outreach to expand the herd.”
With the committed herd size, Hawaii Dairy Farms will produce roughly 1.5 million gallons of milk per year, which is enough to meet the needs of approximately 60,000 people. All of the milk will be distributed statewide as part of Hawaii Dairy Farms’ commitment to providing fresh, nutritious milk for Hawaii’s families.