Mazie Hirono voted for the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act in the U.S. House Thursday (Aug. 2) while Colleen Hanabusa voted against it. It was a 223-197 vote in support of passage.
Quote from Hirono:
Ongoing drought conditions have hit Hawaii's farmers and ranchers hard. In particular, the programs covered by this bill have helped our ranchers survive. The federal Livestock Forage Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program funded by this bill provided almost $3.5 million to ranchers in Hawaii with drought-related losses in 2011 and $9 million in 2010.
At the same time, I don't agree with the offsets used to pay for this bill, which cut important conservation programs by more than is needed to pay for the drought assistance. I am hoping this will be fixed in the Senate.
Quote from Hanabusa:
For Hawaii, in particular, conservation efforts are absolutely critical to keeping ag lands productive. By reducing funding for conservation, this bill could have a direct negative impact on our state's longtime efforts to develop more productive and more sustainable agricultural practices. I could not support a measure that is at direct odds with the priorities of our state and helps one group of farmers at the expense of another group of farmers.
The agriculture industry needs long term solutions not quick fixes.