Maui News

$16.2 MILLION SECURED FOR HAWAII AGRICULTURE PROJECTS

July 9, 2009, 8:51 AM HST
* Updated July 9, 8:56 AM
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More than $1.8 million dollars was secured for continued funding of the Upcountry Maui Watershed project.  The funds are part of a larger $16.2 million appropriation included in an agriculture bill that passed out of the U.S. House today.  The Upcountry watershed supplies irrigation to farmers and ranchers in Upper Kula through a dedicated distribution system.

The bill also includes $106,000 for the Hawaii Plant Materials Center on Molokai.  Native plants grown at the facility are reintroduced to the island of Kaho’olawe to control erosion and invasive plants on the former Target Island.

The FY210 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, H.R. 2997, includes 13 of Congresswoman Mazie Hirono’s requests.

“Agriculture remains a vital component of Hawaii’s economy. During these challenging economic times, it is critical that farmers in my district receive continued federal support in order to increase the odds for long-term survival and success,” said Congresswoman Hirono.

“I am appreciative that a significant number of island projects I championed received House approval,” Hirono said.

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Other funded earmarks include:

  • $1,169,000 for the continued funding of the Lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed project to ensure and improve the agricultural water supply to small farmers and ranchers along the Hamakua Coast of the island of Hawai’i. The goal of the project is to alleviate the shortage of agricultural water along the Hamakua Coast by providing a stable, adequate, and affordable supply through the Lower Hamakua Ditch.
  • $657,000 to fund the USDA’s Wildlife Services program in Hawai’i, Guam, and the Pacific Islands which, in large part, helps prevent movement of Brown Tree Snakes from Guam to Hawai’i. The Brown Tree Snake has devastated Guam’s endemic bird species; the snakes’ introduction into Hawai’i, with its rich biodiversity and large number of endangered bird species that exist nowhere else on earth, would be an ecological disaster.
  • $6,677,000 to fund Tropical and Subtropical Research in the Pacific and Caribbean Basin. The grant supports collaborative efforts to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by farmers in the tropical and subtropical regions of the United States. (Funds go to the Universities of Hawai’i and Guam on the Pacific side and Universities of Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands on the Caribbean side).
  • $2,908,000 to fund Marine Shrimp Research through a collaborative research project involving Hawaii and a number of other states. The emerging U.S. marine shrimp farming industry depends on this research for its stocks, disease diagnosis, and production technologies.
  • $1,438,000 to fund Tropical Aquaculture Feeds Research in Hawaii. This USDA program, administered by the Oceanic Institute, is dedicated to determining the nutritional requirements of promising tropical fish species, developing feed processing methods, and finding alternative local ingredients to replace diminishing supplies of fishmeal, most commonly used in feeds for aquatic species. The program has been responsible for groundbreaking research in aquatic feeds for Pacific white shrimp, mahimahi, Pacific threadfin (moi), and amberjack (kahala).
  • $376,000 to stimulate agricultural development and conservation at the local level. Hawai’i’s four Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) districts-Garden Isle RC&D, Oahu RC&D, Tri-Isle RC&D (Maui, Molokai, Lanai), and the Big Island RC&D-offer a proven community-based infrastructure that can tailor efforts to support sustainable development that is consistent with the unique needs of Hawaii’s varied rural communities.
  • $349,000 to fund Agricultural Development in the American Pacific to support sustainable agricultural development in Hawaii and the U.S. territories through research and extension efforts at the University of Hawaii, University of Guam, Northern Marianas College, College of Micronesia, and American Samoa Community College.
  • $243,000 to fund industry-directed Floriculture Research to enhance the competitiveness of the floriculture industry in Hawaii. More than 930 farmers in Hawaii are producing crops for the nursery and floriculture industry. The Hawaii tropical cut flower and foliage industry, which includes anthurium, orchid, flowering gingers, bird of paradise, heliconia, protea, and cut foliage, is a major component of Hawaii’s agricultural economy.
  • $191,000 to fund the Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed project to reduce the risk of damage due to flooding in Hilo.
  • $153,000 to fund Agricultural Diversification efforts in support of the tropical fruit industry in Hawai’i.The project provides scientific and outreach support services that enable Hawaii entrepreneurs to increase their revenues or profits from growing and selling tropical specialty fruits from Hawaii.
  • $130,000 to fund Prevention and Control of Invasive Termite Species in Hawai’i. Termites are the most economically significant insect pest in Hawai’i, causing some $150 million in damage to buildings per year. The Department of Defense, the construction and pest control industries, condominium associations, public utilities, and the public at large need cost-effective solutions.
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(Posted by Wendy Osher © 2009)

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