STAND. COM. REP. NO. 7

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 356

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 356 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to improve food security and self-sufficiency in the State by encouraging the development and implementation of a whole farm system approach to agriculture in Hawaii through the establishment of a farmer apprentice mentoring program within the Department of Agriculture.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; University of Hawaii System; Hawaii Farmers Union United; Ka Ohana O Na Pua; Farm Lovers Farmers Market; Pipi's Produce, Inc.; and fifteen individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General.

 

Your Committee finds that 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 costs 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. Your Committee finds that currently there is a shortage of qualified teachers for these farm methods; therefore, a farmer apprentice mentoring program will fulfill this need by bringing the students to the farm and providing qualified farm mentors with funding.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Making the appropriation directly to the Department of Agriculture, rather than as a grant-in-aid;

 

(2) Deleting language that would have required the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture to be responsible for grant approvals, and that there be at least one grant approval per county; and

 

(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 356, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 356, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,

 

 

 

________________________________

MIKE GABBARD, Chair