Hawaii's last locally owned and operated large-scale dairy is being sold to an investment company financed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Ed Boteilho, whose family has owned and operated Cloverleaf Dairy since 1962, told Hawaii News Now that Ulupono Initiative has signed an agreement of sale and is going through 90 days of due diligence to acquire the 900-acre facility.
"You're looking at the last dairy standing," Boteilho said. "And I think what we're seeing is the final destruction of the dairy industry in Hawaii, as it was."
Ulupono General Manager Kyle Datta confirmed that the company is interested.
"Ulupono's goal is to increase supply of fresh, local affordable milk for all our island families," Datta said.
Ulupono already has plans to build a dairy on Kauai.
This comes as another operation, Big Island Dairy, received state approval Tuesday to charge processor Meadow Gold less money for milk than what regulators previously allowed. Big Island Dairy is owned by an Idaho-based company. Meadow Gold threatened to stop buying milk from Hawaii dairies if it couldn't get relief from the minimum prices.
Boteilho was against changing price rules.
State Board of Agriculture Chairman Scott Enright said he doesn't think there will be a change in the prices consumers pay for milk after the board voted to waive minimum milk prices.
"I don't discern any real difference for the consumer," he said. "There are so many different distributors putting milk into the marketplace. Meadow Gold is just one."