Report Title:

Statewide Agricultural Cooperative; Contract



Appropriates funds to contract for the planning and implementation of a statewide agricultural cooperative.



H.B. NO.














Relating to agricultural cooperatives.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Hawaii’s agricultural industry faces an uncertain future.  With the demise of large-scale, plantation agriculture, our farmers and ranchers have concentrated their efforts in diversified agricultural endeavors including macadamia nuts, coffee, papaya, and floriculture.  Diversified agriculture offers enormous opportunities.  However, these smaller-scale industries also present numerous challenges, both from within the state and from competition abroad.

     The legislature finds that a carefully organized and implemented statewide agricultural cooperative would provide farmers a viable means of overcoming some of the challenges.  A statewide agricultural cooperative that includes farmers from the entire range of agricultural industries in Hawaii would represent a powerful force to address the needs of Hawaii’s farmers, and would provide much needed assistance in areas like product marketing, distribution, pre-sale agreements, and transportation.

     The purpose of this Act is to require the department of agriculture to issue a request for proposals to contract for the planning and implementation of a statewide agricultural cooperative.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  Pursuant to Chapter 103D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, the department of agriculture shall issue a request for proposal to contract for the planning and implementation of a statewide agricultural cooperative. 

     (b)  The entity awarded the contract shall agree to plan and implement a statewide agricultural cooperative that includes, at a minimum, the following:

     (1)  The statewide agricultural cooperative shall be headed by a board of directors; provided that the board of directors includes members representing secondary industries related to agriculture such as retail, wholesale, and distribution; processing and packaging; transportation; banking, finance, and venture capital; business marketing and product development; and renewable energy involving biomass;

     (2)  The statewide agricultural cooperative shall be a voluntary program for agricultural enterprises; provided that those who choose to opt in shall agree to abide by all of the rules and guidelines set forth by the statewide agricultural cooperative; and

     (3)  The statewide agricultural cooperative shall assist and support its members by:

          (A)  Increasing efforts to market and add value for products produced by members;

          (B)  Improving distribution, packaging, and market pricing for products produced by members;

          (C)  Ensuring adequate food safety and quality standards to promote consistent, reliable, and safe products produced by members;

          (D)  Providing cost-effective solutions in addressing issues relating to the transportation of products;

          (E)  Providing technical support to members;

          (F)  Implementing crop coordination to maximize efficiency and meet market demands; and

          (G)  Negotiating pre-sale agreements to ensure a consistent stream of buyers for member products.

     (c)  The entity awarded the contract shall agree to coordinate and consult with the department of business, economic development, and tourism; department of agriculture; University of Hawaii college of tropical agriculture and human resources; Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation; and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, in planning and implementing the statewide agricultural cooperative.

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $250,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2008-2009 for contract costs incurred for the planning and implementation of the statewide agricultural cooperative.

     The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of agriculture for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 3 shall take effect on July 1, 2008.