STAND. COM. REP. NO. 290

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 640

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 640 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish and appropriate funds for the Hawaii Agricultural Investment Program to support local agriculture.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; Hawaii Farm Bureau; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Local Food Coalition; Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association; Ulupono Initiative; Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Kanalani Ohana Farm; The Humane Society of the United States; and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General.

 

Your Committee finds that the State is committed to creating a self-reliant and prosperous agricultural sector in Hawaii that can readily supply residents and visitors alike with freshly-grown local produce and various other locally-sourced food options. Your Committee further finds that the State relies on imports for more than ninety percent of its food and therefore acknowledges that the agricultural sector in Hawaii requires substantial capital investment to actualize the State's vision. Thus, this measure establishes the Hawaii Agriculture Investment Program within the Department of Agriculture and appropriates funds to assist farmers and ranchers in increasing their capacities to grow and produce viable food alternatives to imports in the ongoing effort of enhancing food security and agricultural self-sufficiency in the State.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure, as suggested by the Ulupono Initiative, by:

 

(1) Clarifying the purposes for which grants shall be awarded by deleting conversion of chicken shell egg farms or businesses from caged to cage-free and including promotion of workforce development and labor solutions for agricultural production and processing and food safety training and education to promote agricultural development and market development;

 

(2) Inserting language establishing grant conditions and qualifications;

 

(3) Inserting an appropriation amount of $3,000,000; 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 S.B. No. 640, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 640, 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