STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2499

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 2704

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2020

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 2704 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish and appropriate monies for a crop reimbursement pilot program to reimburse farming operations in the State for the costs of acquiring cover crop seeds or green manure.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; Surfrider Oahu; Young Progressives Demanding Action; Aa Lii Farm; Hawaii Center for Food Safety; Sierra Club of Hawaii; Larry Jefts Farms, LLC; Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action; Hawaii Farm Bureau; Farm Maui LLC; and fifty-three individuals.

 

Your Committee finds that the use of cover crops and green manure increases agricultural productivity and aligns with the State's integrated sustainability goals. Plants used for this purpose, including grasses, legumes, and forbs, add nutrients to the soil, act as windbreaks, assist with water retention, provide habitats for beneficial insects, and help to prevent soil erosion. This measure incentivizes the use of management practices that enhance the quality and sustainability of Hawaii's agricultural lands.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Requiring that the Department of Agriculture shall distribute the available reimbursement moneys based on the quality of the applicant's cover crop and green manure practice, rather than the award being given on a first-come, first served basis; and

 

(2) 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. 2704, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2704, 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