Maui/Big Island Agricultural Relief Fund
The Cook County Farm Bureau Board of Directors received the correspondence below from the Hawaii Farm Bureau and approved a $1000 donation from the organization in September. The Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors also contributed to the fund. We wanted to share the information with members who may also be concerned.
Aloha AFBF Family,
Thank you for all the calls, texts, and emails about the devasting wildfires on Maui and the Big Island as a result of Hurricane Dora. We appreciate your concern, support, and words of encouragement. It has been a little over a week since wildfires burned through the town of Lahaina, Maui. You have probably seen the extensive media coverage of the devastation in Lahaina. 106 people have died, and that number is expected to significantly increase because over 1,000 people are missing and unaccounted for. It is estimated that 2,200 structures have been destroyed or damaged in Lahaina, with 86% of the structures residential. People lost lives, their homes, their vehicles, their businesses, their pets, everything. There are no words to describe the scope of the devastation we are experiencing. It is heartbreaking. Nearly everyone in Hawaii has family and friends in Lahaina. Hawaii has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and donations for the thousands that have been impacted by the Lahaina wildfires.
While much of the attention is focused on the devastation in Lahaina, wildfires are continuing to burn in other areas of Maui. The wildfire in Upcountry Maui where the town of Kula is only 75% contained. Approximately 700 acres have burned, claiming 19 homes. We have farmers in ranchers in Kula that have been affected by wildfires and high winds from Hurricane Dora. In Kula, ranchers have lost pastureland and farmers have lost crops, structures, and equipment. Farmers and ranchers across Maui have also lost sales to the restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that were destroyed in Lahaina. Some farms lost their retail stores in Lahaina. The Hawaii Farm Bureau along with the Maui County Farm Bureau continues to assess the damage to our farmers and ranchers.
Many credible, well-known organizations have been fundraising and asking for donations to assist the thousands of people affected by the wildfires. Last week we sent out an email encouraging our members and supporters to donate to organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Maui Food Bank. We chose not to ask for any donations to the Hawaii Farm Bureau Foundation to assist our farmers and ranchers at that time out of respect for the tragic events that were unfolding in Lahaina and because we were still assessing the damage to our farms and ranches. Although we have several agriculture operations in Lahaina, our initial assessment was that they weren’t in the area where the wildfire was. We have now identified producers in Lahaina that have been impacted as well as the farms and ranches in Kula and a few ranchers on the Big Island. We are working with the USDA, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, the County of Maui’s Department of Agriculture, our Congressional Delegation, and private businesses to assist the farmers and ranchers that have been impacted.
Many of you asked how you can help. We continue to recommend that people donate to credible charities that will provide the services and support that the people of Maui need. Through the Hawaii Farm Bureau Foundation, our 501c3, we are now asking for donations to directly assist our Farm Bureau members that have been impacted by the wildfires and winds from Hurricane Dora.
We will use the donations to help producers rebuild their farms and ranches, purchase feed for ranchers whose pasture lands burned, help with farm inputs, connect local farmers and ranchers that lost markets and revenue sources from businesses that were destroyed, and provide local produce and protein to the many community feeding programs. Funds will also be used to support the Maui County Farm Bureau.
Donations can be sent to:
Please make checks payable to:
Hawaii Farm Bureau Foundation
P.O. Box 253
Kunia, HI 96759
Please include Maui Wildfire in the memo.
Hawaii Farm Bureau
Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation
Kunia, Hawaii 96759