Your testimony is needed NOW!
Please testify in strong support of BOTH HB1271 and SB335.
HB1271 Abolishes the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) and transfers its responsibility and budget to the Department of Agriculture. HB1271 is scheduled for a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee this Friday at 10 am. Testimony is due ASAP and prior to the hearing (late testimony is better than no testimony). See here for info: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1271&year=2021
SB335 mandates the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) lease out at least 50% of its land to farmers and ranchers whose business is “local food production.” SB335 is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee this Friday at 3 pm. Testimony is due ASAP and prior to the hearing (late testimony is better than no testimony). See here for info: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=335&year=2021
Why does there need to be a law requiring the agency (ADC) managing State agricultural land to actually lease that land for local food production? The answer: According to a recent State audit the ADC’s management has failed miserably over the past nearly 30 years.
Read Audit Here: https://auditor.hawaii.gov/summary/report-no-21-01-audit-of-the-agribusiness-development-corporation/
The ADC in my opinion should actually be abolished but until then it needs to be tightly controlled – and there needs to be a mandate to lease these state agricultural lands to farmers and ranchers who actually grow food for local consumption – regardless as to whether they are managed by the ADC or the DOA.
The ADC manages over 22,000 acres of state-owned agricultural land, most of which is located on Kauai and central Oahu. The vast majority of this land is not used to produce food, certainly not food for local consumption. Spoiler alert: The large fields of corn you see are mostly “seed corn” grown by agro/chemical companies, intended for export, and used to produce ethanol, cattle feed, and high fructose corn syrup. No one actually eats this corn.
🌱A state audit recently revealed that throughout the entirety of its 27-year existence, the ADC has failed to accomplish much of its mission aside from acquiring large acres of land.
🌱The special powers and exemptions granted to the ADC have led to an opaque and unfair leasing process. Small farmers and ranchers have been denied leases with no justification.
🌱Instead of being used for local food production, the majority of ADC lands are currently being leased to agrochemical companies for experimentation and GE seed crops for export.
🌱Mismanagement of ADC lands and a lack of accountability has led to lawsuits, Clean Water Act violations, and other illegal activities on ADC lands that create liabilities for the government.
🌱The results of the audit show that the corporation is incapable of carrying out its basic statutory responsibilities and functions. It also shows that they’re unable to fulfill the recommendations contained in the auditor’s report. Therefore, the ADC should be dissolved.
🌱Lawmakers should prioritize regenerative farming operations on state agricultural lands that utilize soil and water conservation practices. These farming practices provide additional environmental benefits such as improved soil health and preventing run-off.
🌱A stakeholder engagement and planning process is needed so Hawai’i’s agricultural lands can be utilized for sustainable, local food.
Testifying Is Easy
I encourage all to be involved and take action. All you need to know about submitting testimony, tracking bills and contacting your legislator can be found at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov Just register, plug in the bill # (HB### or SB###) and you are good to go.