Hawaiian proverb holds truth for American agriculture

By Mike Barnett

Ho’okahi ka ‘ilau like ana.

That’s Hawaiian, y’all. It means  “Wield the paddles together.”

How fitting as we gather in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Farmers and ranchers from all 50 states and Puerto Rico are here to do the business of agriculture.

Ho’okahi ka ‘ilau like ana.

The ocean set the tempo of life and death for the ancient Hawaiians. Times were tough—even in this tropical paradise. When the ocean was gentle, life was good. When seas got rough, only by cooperating—wielding the paddles together—could the Hawaiians thrive. And survive.

Ho’okahi ka ‘ilau like ana.

This Hawaiian proverb fits American agriculture. True, we are multi-faceted. One size does not fit all. The cotton grower doesn’t always agree with the soybean farmer. The corn farmer is at odds at times with the cattleman. But when times get tough, we pull together toward common goals. That’s the beauty of Farm Bureau.

Ho’okahi ka ‘ilau like ana.

Many challenges face farmers and ranchers as we navigate our way through 2012: a new farm bill,; immigration reform; excessive regulation; developing opportunities to keep agriculture profitable. We’ll have to get our hands wet to chart these rough waters.

Let me leave you with this thought.

Komo mai kau mapuna hoe.

“Dip in your paddle.” Join in the effort. Don’t be a canoe filler.

Wield the paddles together and agriculture will remain strong.


Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
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