Letters 6-18-13


New loan guidelines threaten our farmers

A very dangerous new set of banking regulations threatens small farmers, our Kona coffee industry and the food security of our islands.

Until recently, the most common way to finance a small fee simple farm that had a home on it; was to obtain a 30-year residential fixed rate mortgage.

Now, underwriting guidelines changed to state no residential, 30-year fixed mortgage loans are available to properties being farmed. This leaves few alternatives to future farmers. The only entities who will be able to farm will be large corporations. The corporate farm model is dangerous to our food security. They only look toward profits and not to producing quality, heritage crops.

There has already been several challenges for our local farmers. Bishop Estate lands that comprise more than 80 percent of the farms in Kona have not been financable for the past five years. Now that fee simple farms are in the same boat, the next generation of farmers better change their career paths.

Many homeowners today work from their homes. They are not denied conventional mortgage loans. Why should farmers be singled out?

Our state and federal governments need to address this immediately. New opportunities for long-term, low-interest loans to farmers must be made available for all of our futures.

Arnold Rabin, Realtor

Keei

Estimators make mistakes, too

Regarding your June 14, 2013 West Hawaii Today article “Contractor cool on HVAC deal”:

Having counted the cost of construction on this island for nearly 50 years, and having testified in numerous court and arbitration cases on the correct and incorrect methods of counting construction costs, I can assure your readers that there are occasions when construction estimators and their clerical assistants do make mistakes. The disparity between the consulting engineers estimate and the bidder’s submitted price was recognized and the consulting engineer corrected his/her error and adjusted its price to the number it should have presented to the county in the first place.

As careful as a professional estimator may be, these things happen. In this case, the errors were recognized and the estimate corrected. It appears the trade contractors that failed to submit bids are wishing they had responded to the procurement notice. They also made a mistake.

Peter Walburn

Volcano