(BIVN) – During a recent visit to the volcanic eruption sites of lower Puna, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sat down with East Hawaiʻi farmers in Keaʻau to talk story.
At the table for the meeting held at W.H. Shipman Ltd. headquarters were Eric Tanouye of Green Point Nurseries, Eric Weinert of the Hawaii Papaya Industry, coffee-grower Suzanne Shriner representing SHAC – Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council, Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau president Randy Cabral, Gordon Inouye of Pacific Floral Exchange, Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United treasurer Nami Nielipinski, orchid growers like Bob Wytosky of Hoʻokupu Orchids, and others.
“I think you’re the first Secretary that’s probably set foot on ground in Puna,” Tanouye remarked as he introduced himself and his sons to Secretary Perdue. “Weʻre marking a great day today.”
“Sorry it took a volcano to bring me here,” Secretary Perdue answered.
There was little discussion on the impacts of the eruption on agriculture. Instead, the local farmers talked with Perdue about a number of other pressing issues, like invasive species, marketing, and labor.