Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed seven bills related to agriculture, a central component of the state's economic and environmental sustainability.
"Part of Hawaii's history and way of life, our agriculture industry keeps money in the local economy and supports thriving rural communities," Gov. Abercrombie said. "These bills are important to combat harmful pests and invasive species, promote urban gardening, and expand the agriculture industry through programs that support farmers while educating and encouraging youth in pursuing agricultural careers."
HB353 (Relating to Agriculture) appropriates $550,000 over the fiscal biennium to combat the coffee berry borer, a small beetle harmful to coffee crops worldwide that has infested coffee crops in the Kona and South Kona regions.
HB1263 (Relating to Irrigation) appropriates $75,000 for the East Kauai Irrigation System and $45,000 for the Peekauai Ditch Irrigation System (also known as the Menehune Ditch).
SB593 (Relating to Agriculture) expands livestock feed subsidies to include milking goats, goats raised for meat, sheep, lambs, fish, and crustaceans; and appropriates $1.5 million to the state Department of Agriculture for livestock feed subsidies and the Livestock Revitalization Program.
SB993 (Relating to Agricultural Loans) expands the state's Agricultural Loan Program by adding farm innovation loan programs and expanding the definition of a new farmer.
HB560 (Relating to Affordable Housing Urban Gardening) authorizes the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) and the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) to develop programs that provide incentives for the development of housing projects that incorporate urban gardening programs.
SB586 (Relating to Agricultural Building Permits) provides certain building code and permit exemptions for nonresidential buildings and structures, including indigenous Hawaiian hale, on commercial farms and ranches located outside the urban district.
SB757 (Relating to Agriculture) appropriates $75,000 to the state Department of Education for the Future Farmers of America to educate and support youth in agricultural careers.