Govenor signs farm bills for livestock subsidies, coffee borer fight
May 22, 2017 | 77° | Check Traffic

Top News

Govenor signs farm bills for livestock subsidies, coffee borer fight

  • STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTUREThe coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is a small beetle native to Central Africa.
    The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is a small beetle native to Central Africa.

Hawaii’s agriculture industry is set to establish a strong position in world markets with new legislation to help farmers, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said today.

Abercrombie signed seven agriculture-related bills during a ceremony at the Hawaii Capitol. He said he thinks the Hawaii label will give products instant credibility and add value.

"It’ll be iconic," he said. "I really believe that Hawaii agriculture is going to take a premiere position in the world economy."

The new legislation includes $250,000 to fight coffee berry borer infestations, $75,000 for the Future Farmers of America program and an expansion of subsidies for livestock feed.

The feed subsidies will help local farm operations stay viable and competitive with food suppliers from the U.S. mainland, lawmakers said in the bill. According to the bill, two dairies and four egg farms have closed in the last six years because of the rising cost of livestock feed.

"The closures heighten the state’s dependence on imported foods and threaten the state’s food security and ability to achieve adequate levels of agricultural self-sufficiency," said the bill introduced by Sen. Clarence Nishihara, a Democrat representing Waipahu and other nearby areas.

Another bill authorizes the state’s housing programs to develop incentives for housing projects that incorporate urban gardening programs.

Other bills fund improvements to irrigation systems, expand building permit exemptions for commercial farms and ranches, and expand loan programs for farmers.

Abercrombie said he is most enthusiastic about appropriating funds to the Education Department for teaching kids about farming. He says it’s a modest down payment for the program to prove itself.

The bill signing came on the governor’s 75th birthday, which he said was fitting because agricultural is about rebirth and renewal.

"Somebody told me 75 is the new 40," Abercrombie said. "I said, ‘No, it isn’t.’"

No comments
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email