RANK PREVIOUS COMPANY
Maui Electric Co.
Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
Alexander & Baldwin
Wailuku Water Co.
SAY IT AIN’T SO, DUDE!
Very bad news for our state’s biggest agricultural firms this week,
and you can sum it all up with this Honolulu Advertiser headline, which
ran Dec. 20: “Forget sugar—in Hawai`i, pot’s king.” That’s right, man:
marijuana is now the crop of choice in our state’s fields. According to
figures calculated by marijuana public policy analyst (no, I had no
idea such jobs existed either) Jon Gettman, in 2006 farmer or farmers
unknown cultivated 2.38 million pounds of grass to the tune of $3.82
billion. Now that’s what economists call a high value crop—stats from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that last year Hawai`i’s farms
produced 2.02 million tons (not pounds) of sugarcane, which was valued
at about $63 million. Pineapple production saw just 212,000 tons
produced, but brought in $79 million. Of course, Gettman may just be
blowing smoke—“We have no way to verify his conclusions because we
don’t collect the data,” state agriculture statistician (unfortunately,
such jobs do exist) Mark Hudson told the Advertiser.
JUST NOT A&B’S WEEK
According to the Dec. 22 online version of Pacific Business News,
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Horizon Lines, Inc. just elected Norman
Mineta to its board of directors. Mineta, for those of you who don’t
watch the news with a ferocity bordering on fanaticism, was both
President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Transportation and President
Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce. He’s also vice chairman of Hill
& Knowlton as a former vice chairman of he defense giant Lockheed
Martin. Horizon Lines is, of course, the second biggest shipping firm
that sends freighters to and from Hawai`i, A&B’s Matson being the
biggest. Given Mineta’s impressive Washington credentials and obvious
lobbying power, we’ll just have to see how long Matson stays on top.