THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1436

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

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 is one of the most geographically isolated locations in the world. Hawaii is inordinately susceptible to price fluctuations for food and goods because prices of both are affected by the price of oil needed to fuel their importation to the State. Further, almost all food items consumed in-state must be shipped to Hawaii to support the needs of the State's population.

The legislature further finds that large conventional farming operations use pesticides that damage the State's fragile ecosystem. The pesticides enter the water and land resources of the State and find their way into the ocean. The State's food security is also compromised by other factors, such as the rat lungworm, which is a disease-causing nematode that may result in long-term disability and consequently, diminish an affected person's ability to earn a living.

The legislature additionally finds that the State must explore more effective and environmentally responsible ways to increase food production to feed its residents. Agricultural technology, or 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 revenues.

The legislature also finds that vertical farming, the use of indoor farming techniques in a closed and controlled environment to grow produce in vertically stacked layers, reduces the need for space, pesticides, and water to grow food.

AeroFarms in New Jersey, with its sixty-nine thousand square foot facility, has demonstrated the potential of vertical farming to grow healthy fruits and vegetables and to spur economic activity at the same time. According to Cornell University and the University of California, "Every year, AeroFarms has the potential to produce up to thirty harvests and yield two million pounds of greens. In comparison, a traditional outdoor farm in New York state produces about three lettuce harvests in a good year."

Hawaii must entertain alternatives to its current agricultural operations by bringing in new ideas for the use of land and practicing responsible land stewardship. New agricultural production methods, such as vertical farming, have enormous potential to increase crop yields in limited land space. Several other developed countries, such as Singapore, have successfully implemented vertical farming operations that balance urban development and food production.

The purpose of this Act 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, Kakaako, Moanalua, and Waianae coast areas; and

(2) Appropriate funds for the feasibility study.

SECTION 2. The department of agriculture shall 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, Kakaako, Moanalua, and Waianae coast areas, wherein technological innovation in agriculture will be used to increase food production in a more effective and environmentally responsible way that also contributes to state revenues.

SECTION 3. In conducting the study on the feasibility of ag-tech zones, the department of agriculture shall be guided by the following goals and objectives:

(1) Protect and expand Hawaii's agricultural production for in-state consumption and export;

(2) Create a new industry that recognizes and responds to the challenges of the future of food production in the context of population growth;

(3) Recruit and train Hawaii's youth for the new agricultural economy; and

(4) Promote farming techniques that reduce the use of water and pesticides.

SECTION 4. The feasibility study shall include:

(1) Research into ag-tech zoning currently used in other jurisdictions and best practices relating thereto;

(2) Identification of areas within the city and county of Honolulu suitable for ag-tech zoning;

(3) Determination of funding and staffing requirements for a statewide ag-tech program and any other implementation concerns;

(4) Recommendations for necessary legislation at the state and county level to implement a statewide ag-tech program; and

(5) Production of an economic impact report based upon the successful implementation of a statewide ag-tech program.

SECTION 5. In conducting the feasibility study required by this Act, the department of agriculture shall request, as appropriate, the assistance of the department of land and natural resources; University of Hawaii; department of business, economic development, and tourism; Hawaii community development authority; and city and county of Honolulu. Those agencies shall cooperate and provide necessary resources as requested by the department of agriculture.

SECTION 6. The department of agriculture shall submit its feasibility study, as required by this Act, together with its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2020.

SECTION 7. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 for the department of agriculture to conduct a feasibility study as required by this Act.

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

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Feasibility Study; Ag-tech Zones; Department of Agriculture; Appropriation

 

Description:

Requires the department of agriculture to conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of ag-tech zones within the city and county of Honolulu. Appropriates funds to conduct the feasibility study.

 

 

 

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