STAND. COM. REP. NO. 983

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 871

H.D. 1

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. 871, H.D. 1, 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:

 

(1) Authorize the Department of Agriculture to plan, design, construct, operate, manage, maintain, repair, demolish, and remove infrastructure on any lands under its jurisdiction, to support and promote agriculture;

 

(2) Establish the agricultural enterprise program;

 

(3) Establish the agricultural enterprise special fund; and

 

(4) Require the Board of Agriculture to annually report an accounting of non-agricultural park lessees to the Legislature.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture, University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hawaii Aquaculture & Aquaponics Association; Hawaii Farm Bureau; East Oahu County Farm Bureau; Ulupalakua Ranch; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Larry Jefts Farms, LLC; Ulupono Initiative LLC; Ag Matters, LLC; Local Food Coalition; Kalera, Inc.; Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii; Hawaii Food+ Policy Internship 2021; Kualoa Ranch Hawaii; and twelve individuals.

 

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." Currently, the Department of Agriculture's agricultural park program and the non-agricultural park program focuses on the actual, physical farming activity on land. Limited ancillary activity is allowed only under narrow conditions and circumstances. Many diversified farming operations do not have adequate resources to expand or maximize their productivity. Your Committee finds that it is imperative to provide 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. Agricultural infrastructure such as controlled environment production, on-site processing, cold storage, and value-added processing will promote environmental sustainability and meet consumer demands. These types of operations are extremely costly and not within the budgets for new or expanding small and medium-sized farms but are critical to support the State's goal relating to food production.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by 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. 871, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 871, H.D. 1, 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