STAND. COM. REP. NO. 709
RE: H.B. No. 1505
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Agriculture, to which was referred H.B. No. 1505 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
(1) Establishing in the Department of Agriculture (DOA) a Farmer Apprentice Mentoring Program (Program) to teach farmers about methods to improve soil health by using a whole farm systems approach that:
(A) Practices sustainable agriculture; and
(B) Recycles locally available organic materials, enhanced by fermentation and other ecological processes, such as Korean natural farming;
(2) Requiring the Chair of the Board of Agriculture to establish the curriculum of the Program; and
(3) Appropriating $1,000,000 for each year of fiscal biennium 2019-2021 for the Program.
The Hawaii Farmers Union United, Hawai‘i Center for Food Safety, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and Down to Earth Organic and Natural supported this measure. DOA, University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), and Hawai‘i Farm Bureau supported the intent of this measure.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Changing the amount of the appropriation to an unspecified sum; and
(2) Changing its effective date to July 1, 2150, to encourage further discussion.
Your Committee notes that CTAHR's testimony indicated that it did not support teaching Korean natural farming, since it is not a well-accepted farming practice. Further, as required by a provision of this measure, CTAHR would define "Korean natural farming", as, at this time, an unapproved agricultural system to be used in teaching future farmers. The system is poorly researched and documented. At such time, when the system passes the test of critical evaluation, CTAHR believes that it could be incorporated into appropriate teaching programs.
Further, your Committee respectfully suggests to your Committee on Finance to urge the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to comment on this measure with respect to its ability to assist farmers in marketing their agricultural products.
Finally, should your Committee on Finance deliberate on this matter further, your Committee respectfully requests that it consider appropriating $1,000,000 for each year of fiscal biennium 2019-2021 for the Program to provide mentoring on a whole farm system approach to agriculture.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1505, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1505, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Finance.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture,
RICHARD P. CREAGAN, Chair