STAND. COM. REP. NO. 406
RE: S.B. No. 1436
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Technology, to which was referred S.B. No. 1436 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Require the Department of Agriculture to conduct a study on the feasibility of authorizing the Department to establish and designate ag-tech zones within the City and County of Honolulu, specifically the Kalihi-Palama, Kaka‘ako, Moanalua, and Waianae coast areas; and
(2) Appropriate funds for the feasibility study.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hawai‘i Center for Food Safety, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, MetroGrow Hawaii, Hawaii Farmers Union, and three individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Agriculture.
Your Committees find that agricultural technology, or ag‑tech, is the application of techniques to control the growth and harvesting of vegetable products. Ag-tech includes but is not limited to the use of robotics, indoor farming techniques, and vertical farming. Your Committees further find that farming in a closed and controlled environment to grow produce in vertically stacked layers reduces the need for space, pesticides, and water to grow food.
Your Committees additionally find that the State must explore more effective and environmentally responsible ways to increase food production to feed its residents. Ag-tech should be at the forefront of the effort to revitalize the agricultural sector of the State and develop that industry's potential to be a major contributor to state revenue.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an appropriation amount of $50,000 for each fiscal year; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Technology that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1436, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1436, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Technology,
JARRETT KEOHOKALOLE, Chair
MIKE GABBARD, Chair