comscore Emergency funds available for Maui, Molokai farmers affected by drought-driven deer | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Emergency funds available for Maui, Molokai farmers affected by drought-driven deer

An emergency assistance program is now available for Molokai and Maui farming and ranching operations that have suffered losses due to excessive deer populations.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has committed a total $200,000 to the relief program, which became available following a Jan. 26 emergency proclamation by Gov. David Ige declaring Maui County a disaster area due to drought conditions dating as far back as March 2019.

Those drought conditions have not only resulted in significant loss for Maui ranchers and farmers, but a crisis of starving axis deer on Molokai.

The emergency proclamation enables the state to provide relief from disaster damages, losses, and suffering, as well as protect the health, safety and welfare of the people. Qualified operations may apply for up to $10,000 in assistance from the Agricultural Development and Food Security Special Fund.

“The prolonged drought situation in Maui County has caused significant economic losses to farmers and ranchers in large part due to the overpopulation of axis deer,” said Ige in a news release. “This program will provide some relief for damaged field crops and depleted pasture forage that is necessary for the livestock industry.”

Applications are available online at this state link. The application deadline is noon on March 8.

“The Hawaii Department of Agriculture will continue to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency on disaster relief programs to further assist the agriculture industry in Maui County,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, in a statement.

For more information on the program, contact

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