Taxpayers take loss on failed Kauai dairy plan

HONOLULU — Some Hawaii taxpayers lost money following a private investment firm’s failed plan to establish a dairy on Kauai.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Monday that Honolulu-based Ulupono received $875,000 in state tax credits under a 2008 law that created incentives for landowners to preserve prime farmland for agricultural use in perpetuity.

Ulupono, owned by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, qualified for the tax credit by investing in an agricultural operation on land it leased from another company that had its property preserved under Hawaii’s Important Agricultural Lands law.

Ulupono said in a written statement that it is disappointed that Hawaii Dairy Farms didn’t succeed but that the tax credit program provided an incentive to take on risk with the project it estimated would cost $17.5 million.

Ulupono scrapped the farm plan in January.

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