S.B. NO.














relating to agriculture.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Hawaii is located approximately 2,506 miles from the continental United States.  About 85 to 90 per cent of Hawaii's food is imported, which makes Hawaii particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and global events that disrupt shipping and other modes of transporting food.  Furthermore, the economic impact of food import replacement is significant.  Food expenditures of local consumers from 2004 to 2005 amounted to $3,700,000,000.  Assuming that 85 per cent of the food consumed in the State is imported, this translates to $3,145,000,000 of food expenditures leaving the State each year.  Growing food within the State enables the expenditures on food to remain in the local economy.

     The development of a whole system approach to agriculture in Hawaii that pays close attention to soil health, specifically increasing mineral availability and improving soil structure, water-holding capacity, crop health, and food nutrition levels will lower water usage through deployment of green manure, compost, and cover crops; reduce crop loss from pest damage; and decrease weed pressure.  This whole system approach to agriculture can improve food security and benefit the local economy through reducing production cost by promoting locally sourced inputs and the manufacturing thereof.  Teaching a new generation of farmers to use this whole system approach will create an alternative method of farming that appeals to many young farmers across the State.  Currently, there is a shortage of qualified teachers for these farm methods.  On-farm mentoring aims to fulfill this need by bringing the students to the farm and providing qualified farm mentors with funding.

     The purpose of this Act is to improve food security and self-sufficiency in the State by encouraging the development and implementation of a whole system approach to agriculture in Hawaii.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  There is established in the department of agriculture an on-farm mentoring program that shall provide existing on-farm mentoring programs with funding support to teach farmers about methods to improve soil health by using whole system practices that recycle locally available organic, diverse plant and animal agricultural nutrients, enhanced by fermentation and other ecological processes such as Korean natural farming as defined by the University of Hawaii college of tropical agriculture and human resources.

     (b)  The chairperson of the board of agriculture shall appoint an on-farm mentor for each island with a population greater than five thousand; provided that the chairperson of the board of agriculture may appoint an on-farm mentor for an island with a population of five thousand or fewer upon request.

     (c)  The department of agriculture shall establish curriculum for the on-farm mentoring program, which:

     (1)  Shall include instruction on:

         (A)  Farming techniques that utilize locally sourced organic and other ecological and bio-diverse agricultural amendments and techniques relying on integrated farming practices using vegetative and animal waste products and diverse crops for soil amendments, seed, and other farm inputs;

         (B)  The culturing of indigenous microorganisms; and

         (C)  The recycling of nutrients back onto the farm; and

     (2)  May include instruction on:

         (A)  Farm management, including whole system farming;

         (B)  Animal husbandry, including animal and crop production;

         (C)  Crop management with an emphasis on soil health;

         (D)  Harvesting and storage for farmer cooperatives;

         (E)  Farm marketing with an emphasis on food cooperatives;

         (F)  Integrated pest management and multi-cropping; and

         (G)  The breeding and release of beneficial insects.

     (d)  The department of agriculture, as part of the on-farm mentoring program, shall provide grants to support existing on-farm mentoring programs and a pilot on-farm mentoring program in the county of Maui.

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $60,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2015-2016 as a grant pursuant to chapter 42F, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to existing on-farm mentoring programs and a pilot on-farm mentoring program in the county of Maui to provide mentoring on a whole system approach to agriculture.

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

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015.








Report Title:

Agriculture; Food Sustainability; On-Farm Mentoring; Appropriation



Establishes on-farm mentoring program to teach and train farmers to utilize a whole system approach to agriculture.  Appropriates funds as a grant for existing on-farm mentoring programs and a pilot on-farm mentoring program in Maui.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.