STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2459
RE: S.B. No. 2708
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 2708 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish a new agricultural enterprise program within the Department of Agriculture to plan, design, construct, operate, manage, maintain, repair, demolish, and remove infrastructure on any lands under the jurisdiction of the Department, to support and promote agriculture and to accept the transfer of qualifying agricultural enterprises and agricultural enterprise lands from the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the program.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii; Hawaii Meats, LLC; East Oahu County Farm Bureau; Hawaii Crop Improvement Association; Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association; Hawai‘i Farm Bureau; Ulupono Initiative; and twenty-two individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Your Committee finds that article XI, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution establishes in part that the "State shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands." Your Committee further finds that many diversified farming operations do not have adequate resources to expand or maximize their productivity. Your Committee believes that it is in the State's best interest to give the Department of Agriculture flexibility to move forward with agricultural educational training, farmers' markets, and food hubs and processing facilities on state agricultural lands to promote and support diversified agriculture and ensure agricultural sustainability.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting language to require the Board of Agriculture to submit annual reports to the Legislature to include an accounting of lessees on non-agricultural park land;
(2) Making an appropriation of $1,200,000 into and out of the agricultural enterprise special fund for the planning, design, construction, operation, management, maintenance, repair, demolition, and removal of infrastructure on lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture to support and promote agriculture; 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. 2708, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2708, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Ways and Means and Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,
MIKE GABBARD, Chair