Report Title:

Public Agricultural Lands; Board of Agriculture; Disposition of Lands

Description:

Transfers the disposition of public lands within an agricultural district from the department of land and natural resources to the department of agriculture.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

717

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to agricultural lands.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii's agriculture industry has unique concerns and needs with respect to public lands. Currently, Hawaii public agricultural land is treated much like any other public land when it comes to disposition. Although agricultural leases are afforded some special restrictions and requirements under current law, the current administration and management of public agricultural lands does not reflect adequate synergy with the concerns and needs of Hawaii's agriculture industry. The legislature finds that the department of agriculture is charged with the responsibility of servicing, improving, and promoting Hawaii's agriculture industry. Therefore, the department of agriculture, due to its unique insight into Hawaii's agriculture industry, should also be responsible for the disposition of agricultural lands.

The purpose of this Act is to transfer the powers, duties, and authority relating to the disposition of agricultural lands from the department of land and natural resources to the department of agriculture.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Chapter

AGRICULTURAL LAND DISPOSITION

-1 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless otherwise provided:

"Agriculture or agricultural" means the planting, cultivating, harvesting, and processing of crops, including those planted, cultivated, harvested, and processed for food, ornamental, grazing, or forestry purposes, and including aquatic life farmed or ranched as aquaculture as defined by section 187A-1.

"Agricultural lands" or "lands" means all state public lands within an agricultural district classified pursuant to section 205-2.

"Board" means the board of agriculture.

"Department" means the department of agriculture.

-2 Department of agriculture; disposition. The department of agriculture shall by negotiation, drawing of lot, or public auction, directly dispose of agricultural lands notwithstanding chapter 171. Dispositions may be by lease and shall be subject to the requirements set forth in rules adopted by the board in conformance with section -3.

-3 Rules. The board shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to effectuate the purposes of this chapter. The rules shall provide, without limitation, for definitions; planning generally; planning for intensive agricultural uses; general eligibility requirements; qualifications of applicants; preference rights; disposition of leases; lease provisions; lease restrictions generally; lease restrictions for intensive agricultural uses; acquisition; and notice of breach or default. Rules adopted by the board for the purposes of this chapter shall be consistent with sections 171-10, 171-12, and 171-13."

SECTION 3. Section 26-16, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:

"(c) The department shall:

(1) Dispose of agricultural lands pursuant to chapter ;

[(1)] (2) Promote the conservation, development, and utilization of agricultural resources in the State;

[(2)] (3) Assist the farmers of the State and any others engaged in agriculture by research projects, dissemination of information, crop and livestock reporting service, market news service, and any other means of improving the well-being of those engaged in agriculture and increasing the productivity of the lands;

[(3)] (4) Administer the programs of the State relating to animal husbandry, entomology, farm credit, development and promotion of agricultural products and markets, and the establishment and enforcement of the rules on the grading and labeling of agricultural products; and

[(4)] (5) Administer the aquaculture program under section 141-2.5."

SECTION 4. Section 141-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"141-1 Duties in general. The department of agriculture shall:

(1) Gather, compile, and tabulate, from time to time, information and statistics concerning:

(A) Entomology and plant pathology: Insects, scales, blights, and diseases injurious, or liable to become injurious, to trees, plants, or other vegetation, and the ways and means of exterminating pests and diseases already in the State and preventing the introduction of those not yet here; and

(B) General agriculture: Fruits, fibres, and useful or ornamental plants and their introduction, development, care, and manufacture or exportation, with a view to introducing, establishing, and fostering new and valuable plants and industries;

(2) Encourage and cooperate with the agricultural extension service and agricultural experiment station of the University of Hawaii and all private persons and organizations doing work of an experimental or educational character coming within the scope of the subject matter of chapters 141, 142, and 144 to 150A, and avoid, as far as practicable, duplicating the work of those persons and organizations;

(3) Enter into contracts, cooperative agreements, or other transactions with any person, agency, or organization, public or private, as may be necessary in the conduct of the department's business and on such terms as the department may deem appropriate; provided that the department shall not obligate any funds of the State, except the funds that have been appropriated to the department. Pursuant to cooperative agreement with any authorized federal agency, employees of the cooperative agency may be designated to carry out, on behalf of the State the same as department personnel, specific duties and responsibilities under chapters 141, 142, 150A, and rules adopted pursuant to those chapters, for the effective prosecution of pest control, and animal disease control, and regulation of import into the State and intrastate movement of regulated articles;

(4) Secure copies of the laws of other states, territories, and countries, and other publications germane to the subject matters of chapters 141, 142, [and] 144 to 150A, and , and make laws and publications available for public information and consultation;

(5) Provide buildings, grounds, apparatus, and appurtenances necessary for the examination, quarantine, inspection, and fumigation provided for by chapters 141, 142, and 144 to 150A; for the obtaining, propagation, study, and distribution of beneficial insects, growths, and antidotes for the eradication of insects, blights, scales, or diseases injurious to vegetation of value and for the destruction of injurious vegetation; and for carrying out any other purposes of chapters 141, 142, [and] 144 to 150A[;], and ;

(6) Formulate and recommend to the governor and legislature additional legislation necessary or desirable for carrying out the purposes of chapters 141, 142, [and] 144 to 150A[;], and ;

(7) Publish at the end of each year a report of the expenditures and proceedings of the department and of the results achieved by the department, together with other matters germane to chapters 141, 142, [and] 144 to 150A, and , and which the department may deem proper;

(8) Administer a program of agricultural planning and development, including the formulation and implementation of general and special plans, including but not limited to the functional plan for agriculture; administer the planning, development, and management of the agricultural park program; plan, construct, operate, and maintain the state irrigation water systems; review, interpret, and make recommendations with respect to public policies and actions relating to agricultural land and water use; assist in research, evaluation, development, enhancement, and expansion of local agricultural industries; and serve as liaison with other public agencies and private organizations for the above purposes. In the foregoing, the department of agriculture shall act to conserve and protect agricultural lands and irrigation water systems, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency, and ensure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands[.]; and

(9) Dispose of agricultural lands pursuant to chapter ."

SECTION 5. Section 141-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"141-2 Rules. Subject to chapter 91 the department of agriculture shall adopt, amend, and repeal rules not inconsistent with law, for and concerning:

(1) The introduction, transportation, and propagation of trees, shrubs, herbs, and other plants;

(2) The quarantine, inspection, fumigation, disinfection, destruction, or exclusion, either upon introduction into the State, or at any time or place within the State, of any nursery-stock, tree, shrub, herb, vine, cut-flower, cutting, graft, scion, bud, seed, leaf, root, or rhizome; any nut, fruit, or vegetable; any grain, cereal, or legume in the natural or raw state; any moss, hay, straw, dry-grass, or other forage; any unmanufactured log, limb, or timber; or any other plant growth or plant product unprocessed or in the raw state; any sand, soil, or earth; any live bird, reptile, insect, or other animal, in any stage of development, that is in addition to the so-called domestic animals, which are provided for in section 142-2; and any box, barrel, crate, or other containers in which the articles, substances, or objects have been transported or contained, and any packing material used in connection therewith, which is or may be diseased or infested with insects or likely to assist in the transmission or dissemination of any insect or plant disease injurious, harmful, or detrimental, or likely to become injurious, harmful, or detrimental to the agricultural or horticultural industries or the forests of the State, or which is or may be in itself injurious, harmful, or detrimental to the same (included therein may be rules governing the shipping of any of the articles, substances, or objects enumerated above in this section between different localities on any one of the islands within the State);

(3) The prohibition of importation into the State, from any or all foreign countries, or from other parts of the United States, or the shipment from one island within the State to another island therein, or the transportation from one part or locality of any island to another part or locality of the same island, of any specific article, substance, or object or class of articles, substances or objects, among those enumerated above in this section, which is diseased or infested with insects or likely to assist in the transmission or dissemination of any insect or plant disease injurious, harmful, or detrimental or likely to be injurious, harmful, or detrimental to the agricultural or horticultural industries, or the forests of the State, or which is or may be in itself injurious, harmful, or detrimental to the same;

(4) The manner in which agricultural product promotion and research activities may be undertaken, after coordinating with the agribusiness development corporation[.]; and

(5) The disposition of agricultural lands pursuant to chapter .

All rules adopted under this section shall have the force and effect of law."

SECTION 6. Section 171-14.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

["171-14.5 Auction pre-qualification; agricultural and pasture leases. (a) Whenever used in this section, unless otherwise apparent from the context:

"Farm" also means "ranch" and "farmer" also means "rancher".

"Individual" means a natural person who is not a part of a partnership, corporation, or joint venture which is a potential bidder under this section.

"Nonindividual concern" means a partnership, corporation, or joint venture properly formed under law and which is a potential bidder under this section.

(b) Any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, to be eligible to bid in an auction for agricultural or pasture leases, a potential bidder shall be a bona fide individual farmer or a nonindividual farm concern:

(1) Who has spent not less than two years, full-time, in farming operations;

(2) Who is an owner-operator of an established farm conducting a substantial farming operation;

(3) Who for a substantial period of the individual's adult life resided on a farm and depended on farm income for a livelihood;

(4) Who is an individual who has been a farm tenant or farm laborer or other individual, who has for the two years last preceding the auction obtained the major portion of their income from farming operations;

(5) Is an individual with a college degree in agriculture;

(6) Is an individual who by reason of ability, experience, and training as a vocational trainee is likely to successfully operate a farm;

(7) Who has qualified for and received a commitment for a loan under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act as amended, or as may hereafter be amended, for the acquisition of a farm;

(8) Who is an individual who is displaced from employment in an agricultural production enterprise;

(9) Who is a member of the Hawaii Young Farmer Association or a Future Farmer of America graduate with two years of training with farming projects;

(10) Who possesses the qualifications under the new farmer program pursuant to section 155-1; or

(11) Who possesses other qualifications as the board of land and natural resources may prescribe pursuant to section 171-6 and this section."]

SECTION 7. Section 171-34, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

["171-34 Planning; intensive agricultural and pasture uses. In addition to the requirements set forth in section 171-33, if the intended disposition is for intensive agricultural or pasture uses, the board of land and natural resources shall:

(1) Make or cause to be made an on-the-ground inspection of the land;

(2) Secure data or information from the land study bureau relating to such parcel;

(3) Review any other pertinent information with respect to the land and the surrounding area; and

(4) Based upon information obtained, prepare a written report on the land, which report shall include the following:

(A) The class of the land within the specific use for which disposition is intended;

(B) The condition of the land with respect to its state of development;

(C) Existing improvements, if any;

(D) Extent of uncontrolled erosion if any;

(E) Nature of forage; and

(F) Extent of infestation with noxious weeds."]

SECTION 8. Section 171-37, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

["171-37 Lease restrictions; intensive agricultural and pasture uses. In addition to the restrictions provided in section 171-36, the following restrictions shall apply to all leases for intensive agricultural and pasture uses:

(1) The lease term shall be not less than fifteen years nor more than thirty-five years, except that if the type of disposition requires the lessee to occupy the premises as the lessee's own personal residence, it may be longer than thirty-five years, but not in excess of seventy-five years, and except in the case of a tree-crop orchard lease the term of which shall not be in excess of forty-five years.

(2) If the land being leased is not immediately productive and requires extensive expenditures for clearing, conditioning of the soil, the securing of water, the planting of grasses, or the construction of improvements, as the result of which a longer term is necessary to amortize the lessee's investment, then the lease term may be longer than thirty-five years, but not in excess of fifty-five years.

(3) The land leased hereunder, or any portion thereof, shall be subject to withdrawal by the board of land and natural resources at any time during the term of the lease with reasonable notice and without compensation, except as provided herein, for public uses or purposes, including residential, commercial, industrial, or resort developments, for constructing new roads or extensions, or changes in line or grade of existing roads, for rights-of-way and easements of all kinds, and shall be subject to the right of the board to remove soil, rock, or gravel as may be necessary for the construction of roads and rights-of-way within or without the demised premises; provided that upon the withdrawal, or upon the taking which causes any portion of the land originally demised to become unusable for the specific use or uses for which it was demised, the rent shall be reduced in proportion to the value of the land withdrawn or made unusable, and if any permanent improvement constructed upon the land by the lessee is destroyed or made unusable in the process of the withdrawal or taking, the proportionate value thereof shall be paid based upon the unexpired term of the lease; provided further that no withdrawal or taking shall be had as to those portions of the land which are then under cultivation with crops until the crops are harvested, unless the board pays to the lessee the value of the crops; and provided further that upon withdrawal any person with a long-term lease shall be compensated for the present value of all permanent improvements in place at the time of withdrawal that were legally constructed upon the land by the lessee to the leased land being withdrawn. In the case of tree crops, the board shall pay to the lessee the residual value of the trees taken and, if there are unharvested crops, the value of the crops also.

"Tree-crop", as used in this section, shall be exclusive of papaya and banana."]

SECTION 9. Chapter 171, part III, subpart A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

SECTION 10. The jurisdiction, functions, powers, duties, and authority heretofore exercised by the department of land and natural resources relating to the disposition of public lands within agricultural districts classified pursuant to section 205-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, shall be transferred to and conferred upon the department of agriculture by this Act, and shall be performed and enforced in the same manner as previously authorized, entitled, or obligated except as otherwise authorized, directed, or instructed by this Act.

The department of agriculture shall succeed to all of the rights and powers previously exercised, and all of the duties and obligations incurred by the department of land and natural resources in the exercise of the functions, powers, duties, and authority transferred, whether such functions, powers, duties, and authority are mentioned in or granted by any law, contract, or other document.

All rules, policies, procedures, guidelines, and other material adopted or developed by the department of land and natural resources to implement provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the substance of which are reenacted or made applicable to the department of agriculture by this Act, shall remain in full force and effect until amended or repealed by the chairperson of the board of agriculture pursuant to chapter 91.

All deeds, leases, contracts, loans, agreements, permits, or other documents executed or entered into by or on behalf of the department of land and natural resources pursuant to the provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the substance of which are reenacted or made applicable to the department of agriculture by this Act, shall remain in full force and effect.

SECTION 11. All officers and employees whose functions are transferred by this Act shall be transferred with their functions and shall continue to perform their regular duties upon their transfer, subject to the state personnel laws and this Act.

No officer or employee of the State having tenure shall suffer any loss of salary, seniority, prior service credit, vacation, sick leave, or other employee benefit or privilege as a consequence of this Act, and such officer or employee may be transferred or appointed to a civil service position without the necessity of examination; provided that the officer or employee possesses the minimum qualifications for the position to which transferred or appointed; and provided that subsequent changes in status may be made pursuant to applicable civil service and compensation laws.

An officer or employee of the State who does not have tenure and who may be transferred or appointed to a civil service position as a consequence of this Act shall become a civil service employee without the loss of salary, seniority, prior service credit, vacation, sick leave, or other employee benefits or privileges and without the necessity of examination; provided that such officer or employee possesses the minimum qualifications for the position to which transferred or appointed.

If an office or position held by an officer or employee having tenure is abolished, the officer or employee shall not thereby be separated from public employment, but shall remain in the employment of the State with the same pay and classification and shall be transferred to some other office or position for which the officer or employee is eligible under the personnel laws of the State as determined by the head of the department or the governor.

SECTION 12. All appropriations, records, equipment, machines, files, supplies, contracts, books, papers, documents, maps, and other personal property heretofore made, used, acquired, or held by the department of land and natural resources relating to the functions transferred to the department of agriculture shall be transferred with the functions to which they relate.

SECTION 13. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 14. It is the intent of this Act not to jeopardize the receipt of any federal aid nor to impair the obligations of the State or any agency thereof to the holders of any bond issued by the State or by any state agency, and to the extent, and only to the extent, necessary to effectuate this intent, the governor is authorized and empowered to modify the strict provisions of this Act, but shall promptly report any such modifications with the reasons therefore to the legislature at its next session thereafter for review by the legislature. Nothing contained in this chapter shall affect the validity or the terms and provisions of any bond heretofore issued by the State, department of land and natural resources, or the department of agriculture.

SECTION 15. All acts passed by the legislature during this regular session of 2003, whether enacted before or after the effective date of this Act, shall be amended to conform to this Act unless such acts specifically provide that this Act is being amended. Amendments made to sections of the Hawaii Revised Statutes that are amended by this Act as of a future effective date shall include amendments made after the approval of this Act and before the effective date of the amendments made by this Act, to the extent that intervening amendments may be harmonized with the amendments made by this Act.

SECTION 16. The governor shall appoint a management team and may hire necessary staff without regard to chapters 76 and 77, Hawaii Revised Statutes to:

(1) Develop the appropriate transitions plans;

(2) Rework position descriptions;

(3) Revise personnel classifications;

(4) Develop an organizational structure; and

(5) Attend to other administrative details

so that the transfer of functions can be implemented on January 1, 2005.

SECTION 17. The governor shall submit to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2004, a detailed report on the status of the transition and any legislation recommended by the management team to further effectuate the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 18. The department of agriculture and the department of land and natural resources shall submit to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2004, a detailed report on the status of the transition and any recommended legislation to further effectuate the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 19. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 20. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2004; provided that sections 16 to 18 shall take effect upon approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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