H.R. NO.













Requesting the department of agriculture to identify priorities for state-owned important agricultural lands to maximize the use of such lands for critically-needed agricultural and dairy production.




     WHEREAS, the development and growth of agriculture in Hawaii has been inextricably woven with the fabric of the State's history, culture, economy, and way of life; and


     WHEREAS, the decline of large-scale plantation-based agriculture and the rise of smaller-scale diversified agriculture in Hawaii has led to serious and lengthy discussions regarding the evolving role of agriculture in Hawaii, including the use of agricultural lands, especially those that lie fallow; and


     WHEREAS, in recent years, there has been a decline in available pasture lands as well as local dairies, with only two active dairies remaining in the state, both on the island of Hawaii; and


     WHEREAS, the State is in possession of certain expanses of land that would be suitable for dairy pastures including, for example, approximately 500 acres of former plantation land in the Kunia area of Oahu; and


     WHEREAS, recent discussions have also focused on the critical need to enhance food security for our state; and


     WHEREAS, we are utterly dependent on imported food to feed our communities; and


     WHEREAS, this reliance on imported food makes our state particularly vulnerable to disruptions in shipping and air freight, whether from terrorist activities, natural disasters, or disruptions to the global food chain; and


     WHEREAS, the State Constitution contains a mandate for the Legislature to provide standards and criteria to conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency, and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands; and


     WHEREAS, to carry out the intent of these constitutional provisions, the Legislature has passed legislation in recent years to establish a process for the identification and designation of Important Agricultural Lands (IALs), as well as incentives and protections for IALs; and


     WHEREAS, IALs represent a potentially powerful vehicle for preserving local agricultural production and jumpstarting the drive to enhance Hawaii's self-sustainability and food security; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture (DOA) are required to work together to identify IALs owned by the State and transfer management of those lands to DOA by 2010; 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 DOA is requested to identify priorities for state-owned IALs to maximize the use of such lands for critically-needed agricultural and dairy production; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture.









Report Title: 

Important Agricultural Lands; Food Security