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For Immediate Release: October 26, 2004                                      

Hawaii Board of Agriculture Approves Increase in Price Big Island Dairies are Paid for Raw Milk

HONOLULU - The Hawaii Board of Agriculture (Board) today unanimously approved to raise the minimum price that Big Island dairy farmers are paid for their milk by the processor by 25.8 cents per gallon of raw milk.  This increase affects the minimum price that farmers are paid for their milk and does not regulate the wholesale or retail price of milk, which is set by the processor and the retailers.  The Board gave the approval at its meeting which was held in Hilo this morning.  The matter now goes to review by several executive departments before being sent to Governor Linda Lingle for final approval.

In 1967, the state legislature passed the Milk Control Act to regulate the industry, promote fairness among dairy farmers and help ensure there would be a consistent supply of local milk. Currently under the act, five Big Island dairies form the Hawai`i Milk Shed and two O`ahu form the Honolulu Milk Shed.  This price increase affects only the Hawai`i Milk Shed, which has not received an increase in their minimum price
since 1991.

Since 1991, milk processors have paid Big Island farmers a minimum of $2.02 per gallon of raw milk. If the increase is approved, the minimum price will be $2.28 per gallon of raw milk.

"A cost production study by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture showed that this increase in the minimum price requested by Big Island dairy farmers was justified and appropriate," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  "The Big Island is the only island that is self-sufficient in milk and even sends milk to other islands and it's crucial that we all support 'Island Fresh' milk, including retailers and consumers." 

The Board preliminarily approved the increase at its meeting on April 29, 2004 and sent the matter to public hearing, which was held on the Big Island on September 27, 2004. Comments from that public hearing were forwarded to the Board for consideration for final approval.


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
[email protected]