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Governor clears measure to market Hawaii products

By Oskar Garcia

Associated Press

POSTED:

DENNIS ODA / doda@staradvertiser.comLast week's community-supported agriculture bag from Oahu Fresh included chives, corn, chard, lettuce, lemons, cucumbers and avocado.

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

Abercrombie signed seven agriculture-related bills during a ceremony at the state 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 premier position in the world economy.”

The new laws 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 mainland, lawmakers said. According to the law, two dairies and four egg farms in the state have closed in the past 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 (D, Waipahu-Pearl City).

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

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

“This measure helps provide Hawaii’s emerging farmers with the capital they need to start their farming operations and be innovative in testing new crops or techniques.” 

Abercrombie said he is most enthusiastic about appropriating money to the Department of Education to teach children about farming. He says it’s a modest down payment for the program to prove itself.

The 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.’”






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palani wrote:
...an expansion of subsidies for livestock feed?

Why are we subsidizing livestock feed?

“It’ll be iconic,” he [Abercrombie] said. “I really believe that Hawaii agriculture is going to take a premier position in the world economy.” Sure, right after Hawaii takes "a premier position" in oil and natural gas production.


on June 27,2013 | 05:53AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Nothing can beat the fresh taste given from our local farmers.
on June 27,2013 | 07:50AM
soundofreason wrote:
Expand our markets and then build houses on our potential ability. Nice.
on June 27,2013 | 07:27AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Good intentions, but its going to take more than this to compete with the GMO farmers who plant thousands of acres at a times in the Mainland.
on June 27,2013 | 07:49AM
control wrote:
For too long, the local ag industry was soley interested in promoting exotic produce and crops and plantation style farming. They need to focus on staples and small farms. Just think of all that wasted land on Lanai that could be turned into small and productive 1-2 acre family farms that could feed the entire state.
on June 27,2013 | 07:56AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
*LIKE*
on June 27,2013 | 09:59AM
konag43 wrote:
I'm all for the expantion of farmers but why export foord that can be eaten by our local people here on the island unless it is an excess. also instead of subsidizing feed why not let the farmers grow their own feed. by the way mikethenovice why do you think monsanto is here in hawaii. they can grow thousands of acres on the mainland but in hawaii monsanto can grow 4 crops a years compared to 1 crop a year on the mainland.
on June 27,2013 | 11:50AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
And much of what Monsanto grows is seed crop. The same seed crop that is now being subsidized for small farmers. Monsanto says "Thanks, Gov!" for subsidizing the farmer so he can buy more Monsanto seeds.
on June 27,2013 | 01:28PM
kuewa wrote:
Still nothing to address the major problems which relate to infrastructure support (irrigation systems, slaughterhouse facilities, etc.) and export limitations (shipping costs, restrictions); not to mention effective protection of agricultural lands from development and revision of the business tax system. The agricultural industry is unlikely to reach full potential without addressing these issues.
on June 28,2013 | 12:32AM
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