STAND. COM. REP. NO. 982

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 817

H.D. 2

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred H.B. No. 817, H.D. 2, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to require each executive department to ensure that a certain percentage of the produce purchased by that department is grown in Hawaii and report to the Legislature on each department's progress toward meeting locally-grown produce benchmarks.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Education; Hawaii Farm Bureau; Malama Kauai; Ulupono Initiative LLC; Healthy Eating Active Living; Hawaii Public Health Institute; Hawaii Farm to School Hui, Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action; Center for Getting Things Started; Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii; Kamehameha Schools; and eleven individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Agriculture.

 

Your Committee finds that supporting local businesses and encouraging the production and use of local agricultural products is a matter of statewide concern. Requiring state departments and agencies to establish and meet benchmarks for the purchase of fifty percent locally grown, raised, and harvested produce by 2050, with relative benchmarks along the way, demonstrates the State's support for local farmers and ranchers with a consistent market to provide fresh, healthy products to the community and revitalization of the local economy, especially in the State's rural areas. Local food procurement boosts the flavor of meals, benefits the environment through maintenance of farmland and green space, and promotes food safety. These efforts can be important in supporting local food production goals, supporting the local agriculture industry, and increasing the State's food security efforts. Additionally, the staggered timeline proposed by the measure can help farmers gradually expand production to meet proposed demands.

 

Your Committee also finds that this measure seeks to provide equitable access to locally-grown products to all Hawaii residents, rather than those with the means to spend premium prices for local products.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Clarifying that the benchmark for locally-grown products are measured by the percent of total food cost;

 

(2) Replacing "locally-grown produce" with "fresh local agricultural products and local value-added, processed, agricultural, or food products" throughout;

 

(3) Adding definitions for "fresh local agricultural products", "local value-added processed, agricultural, or food products", and "primary agricultural product" to be in alignment with the Department of Agriculture's Seal of Quality Program that protects Hawaii's brand for fresh and value-added products; and

 

(4) 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 H.B. No. 817, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 817, H.D. 2, 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