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Agriculture losses from Maui fire at $23 million, USDA says


(The Center Square) – Low humidity, high winds, and a dry spell produced fire-perfect weather conditions that conspired to create $23.1 million in losses for Maui County farm and agricultural producers, according to a USDA report.

Hawaii County producers lost $100,000 of that total, according to the report.

A fraction of producers will not recover.

“Overall, 73% of producers indicated their production didn’t change,” the report said. “In Hawaii County the percentage was 91% and in Maui County the percentage was 70%. However, 4% of Maui producers don’t expect to recover.”

In understanding the damage wrought, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service collected data from November 2023 to December 2024 through questionnaires directed at 728 affected producers in Hawaii and Maui Counties, including those on Maui, Lanai, and Molokai.

Livestock deaths, damaged or destroyed crops and property, and reduced services and sales in agritourism are included in the report.

The questionnaires, when analyzed, showed property damages, which included buildings, vehicles, irrigation equipment, farm machinery, fences, and other structures, such as water tanks, tallied at $8.5 million.

Floriculture and vegetable crops in Hawaii County and bananas, coffee, floriculture crops, taro, vegetables, and other fruit crops in Maui County accounted for the second highest loss at $5.4 million, covering a 500-acre range of cropland. The loss included unrealized markets.

Reduced sales revenues numbered $5.1 million in losses, with a $3.9 million reduction in agritourism revenue.

Cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, honeybee colonies, horses, and alpacas account for $75,000 in livestock losses.

Also damaged was 7,850 acres of pasture land.

The August fires destroyed more than 2,000 buildings in Maui and killed 100 people. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.