H.R. NO.













SUPPORTing small farmers who grow food crops locally and whose gross annual income is no less than $1,000 and no more than $500,000 annually.




     WHEREAS, Part III of Chapter 205, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), regarding Important Agricultural Lands promotes retention of prime lands for agricultural purposes and agricultural self-sufficiency; and


     WHEREAS, agricultural sustainability and food self-sufficiency are an increasingly important concern for the people of Hawaii due to our dependency on food imports and the rising cost of local food production; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's food self-sufficiency has been demonstrated in the past by small farmers and not by large-scale, fossil-fuel dependent, export-oriented agribusiness; and


     WHEREAS, setting achievable criteria for agriculture lease and credits supports small farmers, and their ability to achieve local food security; and


     WHEREAS, a possible standard for tax breaks and other assistance could be based on the Department of Agriculture's (DOA) policy of asking farmers who make $1,000 or more to report their production and income; and


     WHEREAS, providing unfair advantages for agricultural corporations already well-supported by federal crop subsidies, who do not originate from the State of Hawai'i, or whose annual income exceeds $500,000 through the reduction or elimination of general excise taxes only hurts small farmers; and


     WHEREAS, food and food products sold locally mean more dollars circulate and remain in the state longer, promoting greater economic health; and


     WHEREAS, U.S. dollars earmarked for agricultural subsidies should go to sustainable family farms and not to agribusinesses; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, that this body hereby urges DOA, the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DEBDT), and the Department of Taxation (DOTAX), to make support to small farmers who grow food crops locally and whose gross annual income is no less than $1,000 and no more than $500,000 annually, a priority; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DOA, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Agribusiness Development Corporation are requested to prioritize the leasing of agricultural lands under their jurisdiction using the following criteria:


(1)  Leases for production where no less than 100 percent is sold and consumed locally for 100 percent of agricultural lands under DOA jurisdiction;


(2)  Lease requests for small farms of one to 40 acres;


(3)  Production of food fit for human consumption before leases for other agricultural crops;


(4)  Use of organic production methods before fossil-fuel and chemical dependent technologies;


(5)  Financial aid for infrastructure and funding for enforcement; and


(6)  Incorporating the co-existent farmers' document as a reference;




     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DOTAX, in conjunction with DOA is requested to investigate the effects of a waiver of general excise tax on rents from private lands with affordable long-term leases to small farmers using the above criteria; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture, Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, Director of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Director of Taxation, and Chairperson of the Agribusiness Development Corporation's Board of Directors.









Report Title: 

Small Farm Support