THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

335

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

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 the agribusiness development corporation was established in 1994, to address the issues of large tracts of land becoming available due to the downsizing of the sugar and pineapple industries.

The legislature further finds that Hawaii now faces different issues in agriculture, mainly sustainable agriculture and local food production. According to the agribusiness development corporation's 2019 report to the legislature, the corporation manages over 22,000 acres of public agricultural lands with significant potential to shape the State's agricultural public policy toward the goal of food self-sufficiency. The lack of affordable agricultural land with long-term leases is cited as a key inhibitor of the growth and expansion of local agriculture.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Ensure that the agribusiness development corporation prioritizes food production for local consumption; and

(2) Ensure transparency and accountability by requiring the department of agriculture and agribusiness development corporation to submit reports to the legislature on the department's and corporation's leasing activities.

SECTION 2. Section 163D-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]163D-1[]] Findings and purpose. The legislature finds that the downsizing of the sugar and pineapple industries is presenting an unprecedented opportunity for the conversion of agriculture into a dynamic growth industry[.], including local food production. Within the next decade, seventy-five thousand acres of agricultural lands and fifty million gallons per day of irrigation water are expected to be released by plantations. The downsizing of the sugar and pineapple industries will idle a valuable inventory of supporting infrastructure including irrigation systems, roads, drainage systems, processing facilities, workshops, and warehouses. The challenge to government and business is to conserve and convert the arable lands and their associated production infrastructure in a timely manner into new productive uses, including local food production, that are based upon strategies developed from detailed marketing analysis and monitoring of local, national, and international opportunities. Constantly evolving economies require an aggressive and dynamic leadership for the promotion and development of agricultural enterprises, and centralized leadership to coordinate industry development, provide industry-wide services, provide marketing assistance, and facilitate investments and coventures in viable enterprises.

The purpose of this chapter is to create a vehicle and process to make optimal use of agricultural assets for the economic, environmental, and social benefit of the people of Hawaii. This chapter establishes a public corporation to administer an aggressive and dynamic agribusiness development program. The corporation shall coordinate and administer programs to assist agricultural enterprises to facilitate the transition of agricultural infrastructure from plantation operations into other agricultural enterprises, including those promoting local food production, to carry on the marketing analysis to direct agricultural industry evolution, and to provide the leadership for the development, financing, improvement, or enhancement of agricultural enterprises and local food production."

SECTION 3. Section 163D-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Local food production" means crops, livestock, poultry, and other foods that are grown and raised in Hawaii, at least in part, for direct consumption by Hawaii residents and visitors.

"Primary business" as used in this subchapter means at least fifty percent of the entity's production or harvest shall be distributed for local consumption in Hawaii."

SECTION 4. Section 163D-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The corporation shall prepare the Hawaii agribusiness plan which shall define and establish goals, objectives, policies, and priority guidelines for its agribusiness development strategy. The plan shall include but not be limited to:

(1) An inventory of agricultural lands with suitable adequate water resources that are or will become available due to the downsizing of the sugar and pineapple industries that can be used to meet present and future agricultural production needs;

(2) An inventory of agricultural infrastructure that will be abandoned by sugar and pineapple industries such as irrigation systems, drainage systems, processing facilities, and other accessory facilities;

(3) An analysis of imported agricultural products and the potential for increasing local production to replace imported products in a manner that complements existing local producers and increases Hawaii's agricultural self-sufficiency;

(4) Alternatives in the establishment of sound financial programs to promote the development of diversified agriculture;

(5) Feasible strategies for the promotion, marketing, and distribution of Hawaii agricultural products in local, national, and international markets;

(6) Programs to promote and facilitate the absorbing of displaced agricultural workers into alternative agricultural enterprises;

(7) Strategies to insure the provision of adequate air and surface transportation services and supporting facilities to support the agricultural industry in meeting local, national, and international market needs;

(8) Proposals to improve the gathering of data and the timely presentation of information on market demands and trends that can be used to plan future harvests and production; and

(9) Strategies for federal and state legislative actions that will promote the development and enhancement of Hawaii's agricultural industries[.], and in particular local food production."

SECTION 5. Section 163D-15.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"163D-15.6 Commitment and preservation of agricultural leases. (a) The [agribusiness development] corporation shall work toward obtaining commitments from landowners in the leeward and central districts of Oahu that their agricultural leases shall be for a duration of twenty or more years and shall not be amended or revoked to allow for a nonagricultural use of the land; provided that for lands in central Oahu acquired under Act 234, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, the agricultural leases shall be for no more than fifty-five years.

(b) To further ensure the preservation of agriculture in the leeward and central districts of Oahu, the [agribusiness development] corporation shall monitor the agricultural leases of lands using the water from the Waiahole water system. In the event of any proposed amendment or revocation of any lease, the corporation shall do all things within its powers under this chapter to protect and defend the interests of the agricultural leaseholders to ensure the continuation of agricultural use for those lands.

(c) Beginning January 1, 2022, the department of agriculture and corporation shall annually lease or license at least fifty per cent of land eligible for lease or license or lease or license renewal, to agricultural operations whose primary business is food or crop production for local consumption."

SECTION 6. Chapter 141, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"141-    Reporting requirements; leased lands. (a) The department of agriculture shall submit an annual report to the legislature, and post the report on its website, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session. The report shall contain the following information regarding its leased lands:

(1) The number of lots leased by size and island;

(2) The number of lots leased that contain protocols and conditions supporting specialty farm products by island;

(3) The number of vacant parcels and unoccupied parcels in the leasing process by island, including the parcel size, location, and date the parcel was last occupied by a tenant; and

(4) A description of any lease sales or transfers by lessees approved by the board of agriculture, including:

(A) A description of the type of farm products produced by the transferring lessee and the farm products to be produced by the accepting lessee on the leased lands; and

(B) The date and description of the transferring lessee's last lease approved by the board of agriculture."

SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Department of Agriculture; Agribusiness Development Corporation; Diversified Agriculture; Leased Lands; Reporting Requirements; Local Food Production; Enterprise

 

Description:

Requires the Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Development Corporation to annually lease at least fifty per cent of land leased or up for lease renewal to operations whose primary business is local food production beginning 1/1/2022. Requires the Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Development Corporation to submit reports to the legislature on leasing activities.

 

 

 

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