Drought news: Ranchers in the U.S. far far west [Hawaii] are battling drought


From the Associated Press (Jennifer Sinco Kelleher) via The Durango Herald:

While large swaths of the mainland United States are in the middle of the worst drought in decades, the far-away Hawaiian islands in the middle of the Pacific are familiar with occasional drought. The wide-ranging weather of the islands can bring rainfall on one side of an island but be very dry just a few miles away.

Ponoholo Ranch, one of the three biggest on the Big Island of Hawaii, is heading into its eighth year of drought conditions.

“It’s our biggest challenge now,” said Sabrina White, a manager at the ranch in North Kohala. “It’s too dry. We don’t have the grass we need to feed the cows.” They’ve had to reduce their herd by about 2,000.

Ranchers in other parts of the state, where there are pockets of extreme drought conditions, are reporting the same to the National Weather Service in Honolulu. There have been reports of dried-out pastures on the southern point of the Big Island, with ranchers having to haul thousands of gallons of water. Dry conditions on Molokai have caused an increase in crop damage by axis deer. Maui County continues to call for a voluntary reduction in water usage in some areas, the weather service said.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 54 percent of Hawaii is in a drought now, compared with about 21 percent a year ago. Nearly 9 percent – mainly leeward parts of the Big Island, Maui and Molokai – are suffering from extreme drought.

Leave a Reply