THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

985

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to agriculture.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii's agricultural industry is one of the State's most important economic sectors. Article XI, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution mandates that "The State shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands." This policy sets forth the State's responsibility to oversee and implement laws and rules to guide the success and development of Hawaii's agricultural industry.

The legislature further finds that the state department of agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture both have the responsibility to oversee the agricultural industry in Hawaii as well as agricultural products being imported and exported out of the State. The Hawaii Right to Farm Act, the United States Department of Agriculture's Plant Protection Act, and other state and federal mandates provide consistent policies that apply to all farmers doing business in Hawaii and abroad.

The legislature further recognizes that while Hawaii's agricultural industry has made great strides over the years, state law and rules should be uniform and consistent. The legislature also finds that state laws and rules should reflect changes in the agricultural industry and encourage investing in infrastructure, technology, and generally accepted agricultural practices to provide farmers the freedom to farm and compete in a global marketplace.

It is the intent of this Act to establish a state policy to promote commercial farm operations as a vital economic activity, along with providing a proper balance among the varied and sometimes conflicting interests of all lawful activities in the State. All state departments and agencies should encourage the maintenance of agricultural production, support the development of agriculture, and create a positive agricultural business climate.

The purpose of this Act is to protect and promote reasonable agricultural activities that are consistent with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

SECTION 2. Section 165-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"165-1 Findings and purpose. The legislature finds that when nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas, farming operations often become the subject of nuisance lawsuits that may result in the premature removal of lands from agricultural use and may discourage future investments in agriculture. The legislature also finds that under the Hawaii State Planning Act, it is a declared policy of this State to "foster attitudes and activities conducive to maintaining agriculture as a major sector of Hawaii's economy." Accordingly, it is the purpose of this chapter to reduce the loss to the State of its agricultural resources by both limiting the circumstances under which farming operations may be deemed to be a nuisance[.] and promoting and fostering an atmosphere of acceptance of all the various forms of agricultural practices and operations that are generally accepted as legitimate and appropriate within our nation."

SECTION 3. Section 165-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"165-2 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires[:] and notwithstanding any law to the contrary:

"Farming operation" means a commercial agricultural, silvicultural, or aquacultural facility or pursuit conducted, in whole or in part, including the care and production of livestock and livestock products, poultry and poultry products, apiary products, and plant and animal production for nonfood uses; the planting, cultivating, harvesting, and processing of crops; and the farming or ranching of any plant or animal species in a controlled salt, brackish, or freshwater environment. "Farming operation" includes but shall not be limited to:

(1) Agricultural-based commercial operations as described in section [[]205-2(d)(15)[]];

(2) Noises, odors, dust, and fumes emanating from a commercial agricultural or an aquacultural facility or pursuit;

(3) Operation of machinery and irrigation pumps;

(4) Ground and aerial seeding and spraying;

(5) The application of chemical fertilizers, conditioners, insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides; and

(6) The employment and use of labor.

A farming operation that conducts processing operations or salt, brackish, or freshwater aquaculture operations on land that is zoned for industrial, commercial, or other nonagricultural use shall not, by reason of that zoning, fall beyond the scope of this definition; provided that those processing operations form an integral part of operations that otherwise meet the requirements of this definition.

"Nuisance" means any interference with reasonable use and enjoyment of land, including but not limited to smoke, odors, dust, noise, or vibration; provided that nothing in this chapter shall in any way restrict or impede the authority of the State to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. "Nuisance" as used in this chapter, includes all claims that meet the requirements of this definition regardless of whether a complainant designates [such] the claims as brought in nuisance, negligence, trespass, or any other area of law or equity; provided that nuisance as used in this chapter does not include an alleged nuisance that involves water pollution or flooding."

SECTION 4. Section 165-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"165-4 Right to farm. No court, official, public servant, or public employee shall declare any farming operation a nuisance for any reason if the farming operation has been conducted in a manner consistent with generally accepted agricultural and management practices. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a farming operation does not constitute a nuisance. The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be guaranteed in this State. No law shall be enacted that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ generally accepted agricultural technology, livestock production, and ranching practices."

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Agriculture; Right to Farm

 

Description:

Clarifies the State's policy to promote and foster an atmosphere of acceptance for agricultural practices. Guarantees the rights of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices.

 

 

 

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