HFB Legislative Report

Some 60 percent of the Hawaii Farm Bureau’s initiatives, including our top four priorities, met with success in the 2017 legislative session.

They include:

  •  A $450,000 allocation to fund the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts;
  • • A $4 million allocation for the capital improvements for the Waiahole Irrigation System;
  • A $1.2 million appropriation to fund the Department of Agriculture’s biosecurity program;
  •  A $500,000 appropriation to support grants that help farmers comply with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA regulations and state food safety laws;
  • A $75,000 appropriation to support research on the adverse effects of the rose-ringed parakeet, and develop a plan for controlling the destructive pests on Kauai;
  • A $200,000 appropriation to support the Agriculture Workforce Development initiative;
  •  Forming a temporary task force to develop a single definition of “bona fide” agricultural producer; and
  • Directing the Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources to identify the economic, environmental and regulatory consequences of crop degradation caused by invasive and endangered species, and report back to the Legislature in 2018 with any recommended legislation.

The state budget also earmarks $23.7 million to purchase the Dole land on Oahu; $6.1 million to maintain irrigation Systems in Waimanalo, Waiahole, Puu Pulehu, Waimea and Wahiawa; $1 million on rat lungworm funding; $608,000 for mobile hot water treatment for invasive species; $1.5 million for a livestock harvest facility; $350,000 for improvements to the Kahuku agricultural park; $650,000 for the Whitmore processing facility; $250,000 for a Puna ag park feasibility study; $500,000 for Waianae ag park improvements; $1.5 million for the agricultural loan revolving fund; $750,000 for pesticide regulations; $1 million for a manufacturing development program; $300,000 for ag tenant road repair; $500,000 for statewide greenhouses; and funding for new positions in the food safety certification program, pesticide compliance, pesticide licensing and industrial hemp.

Many thanks to everyone who helped us screen 2,918 pieces of legislation and track 451 bills through the session, and a special mahalo nui loa to those who submitted testimony. Our voices were heard loud and clear at the state Capitol, with good results for small farmers and Hawaii agriculture.