December floods cost orchid farm millions of dollars - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

December floods cost orchid farm millions of dollars

Mordecai Hudson Mordecai Hudson
Ron Hudson Ron Hudson

By Roger Mari bio | email

WAIANAE (KHNL) - During the island's rainy season, flooding from future storms is a concern for many. Leeward Oahu residents and businesses are still struggling from December's storms.

For one farmer it's time to start all over from the ground up.

Owners of Hawaiian Orchid Nursery in Waianae are calling their business a complete loss. They say it could take more than two years to fully recover. Even then, there's no guarantee the state can prevent it from happening again.

More than 2 acres of orchids in his hot house can no longer be sold. Heavy rains carved deep gulley's burying most of them in mud.

"We know that 3/4 of them are in mud and so we know they're going to die," said Hawaiian Orchid Nursery President Mordecai Hudson.

Farmers say a state owned ranch overflowed sending countless gallons of water rushing through. It was a costly catastrophe.

"Just in plant loss alone, probably about a million dollars," says Ron Hudson of Hawaiian Orchid Nursery.

Mordecai Hudson owns this orchid farm and says these are the worst rains he had experienced in 29 years of operation.

"We don't want someone to just give us money, we want them to fix it and fix up there so it won't happen again," said Mordecai Hudson.

In a few years this business will be handed down to Ron Hudson. He hopes by then his hard work restoring the farm won't be washed away.

"If they don't do anything, I'm stuck, and that's all there is to it because I don't know where that water is going to come through," said Ron Hudson.

With customers to serve, he and his son Ron are buying orchids from the Big Island to fulfill their obligations. One of their biggest accounts is the Sheraton Waikiki.

"They want orchids back in there and we don't have the orchids to put back in, so we have to go buy them to keep up our end of the contract," said Mordecai Hudson.

For now they take things day-by-day and hope the next heavy rains won't leave them stuck in the mud.

Mordecai says the Department of Agriculture came by to assess the damage, but hasn't yet told him if it'll compensate him for the losses.

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