Target: Hawaii’s Governor, Neil Abercrombie
Goal: Commend Governor for signing agriculture-related bills that will help position Hawaii as a leader in the industry
Recently, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed seven agriculture-related bills. According to Governor Abercrombie, the bills are expected to help Hawaii’s agriculture industry “…establish a strong position in world markets.”
The agriculture industry was once the backbone of Hawaii’s economy. It has since taken a backseat to the tourism industry, which brought in approximately $1.5 billion in revenue within the past year. However, Hawaii’s reliance on tourism can be detrimental since this revenue is often negatively impacted by recessions, natural disasters, and rising costs of airplane flights. Due to these risks, allocating funding and support to Hawaii’s agriculture industry will help improve the overall economy of the state, as well as provide a more self-sustaining source of revenue.
The new bills affect many aspects of Hawaii’s agriculture industry, including irrigation, loans, urban gardening, building permits, and livestock. Collectively, these bills will:
• Allot over $500,000 to fight the coffee berry borer insect; this small beetle is responsible for infesting and destroying coffee crops on the island of Hawaii.
• Allot $75,000 for irrigation systems on the island of Kaua’i
• Allot $1.5 million to the state’s Department of Agriculture for livestock feed subsidies
• Extend livestock feed subsidies to include sheeps, lambs, fish, crustaceans, milking goats, and goats raised for meat
• Broaden the definition of a new farmer and the state’s Agricultural Loan Program
• Allow the development of programs that offer incentives to those who create housing projects that include urban gardening (growing many varieties of plants within an urban setting)
• Allow building code and permit exemptions for nonresidential buildings located on farms and ranches
• Allot $75,000 to the state’s Department of Education to support and improve the Future Farmers of America programs
By signing the petition below, you will show your support for Hawaii’s new bills and commend Governor Abercrombie for supporting local farmers and the agriculture industry.
Dear Governor Abercrombie,
You recently signed seven new agriculture-related bills. These bills will improve Hawaii’s agriculture industry, provide better support to local farmers, and work to increase educational programs that target the state’s youth.
Hawaii’s main source of revenue is through tourism. However, agriculture and farming have a long history in Hawaii that deserves to be supported and celebrated. By signing these bills, you show a commitment to the history of the state and local farmers.We would like to commend you on your decision to support the local agriculture industry and your drive to educate the state’s youth about farming as a potential career path.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: BenTheElectionMan via Wikimedia Commons