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Some farmers fear competition with Oprah

May 23, 2013
Maui Weekly

The Maui News - As media mogul Oprah Winfrey goes public in her magazine about her thriving Upcountry organic farm, some Maui farmers expressed mixed feelings about her farm's vision and whether they will have to compete with Winfrey's fame and fortune for a place in an already tough agricultural market.

Some local farmers wondered about how they could survive in a market with Winfrey and her large financial holdings, while others worried about how her farm on Maui could drive up land prices and prevent small farmers from buying more land to expand.

Winfrey's longtime friend and health and fitness expert Bob Greene, who helped her start her farm in Kula, said he can understand local farmers' concerns. At the same time, he said, Winfrey could be an asset, bringing attention to organic farming and enhancing the local industry.

"The last thing she wants to do is put pressure on a business struggling," Greene said. "We want more of these farms to thrive."

Greene said Winfrey should do some outreach to the public to discuss her plans for her farm.



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