Maui News

Emergency loans available to assist with axis deer impacts in Maui County

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Axis Deer (Sept. 14, 2020). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture will open an emergency loan program to help farmers with the costs associated with the overpopulation of axis deer in the County of Maui.

At an Aug. 23, 2022 meeting, the Hawaiʻi Board of Agriculture approved the emergency loan program request by the Agricultural Loan Division. Applications from Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi will be accepted beginning Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022.

In March 2022, Governor Ige issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Maui County due to drought conditions. Supplementary proclamations have extended the relief period until Sept. 20, 2022.

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The emergency proclamations include provisions for relief from damages, losses and suffering caused by axis deer, which have decimated agricultural crops and pastural lands as they migrate to seek water and forage. The estimated population of axis deer in the county is at least 60,000.

“The prolonged drought conditions have exacerbated the problems associated with the overpopulation of axis deer in Maui County,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Board of Agriculture. “The low-interest emergency loans offer some relief for farmers and ranchers in managing their losses and assisting with the cost of fencing and other mitigation measures.”

The Board approved the following emergency loan amounts, terms and parameters:

  • Maximum loan amount: $150,000.
  • Terms to be determined on a case-by-case basis as needed. Consideration will be based on historical farm performance and projected cash flow based onreasonable assumptions of revenue and expenses.
  • Interest rate: 3%.
  • The credit denial requirement shall be waived for loans $100,000 or less. Loans larger than $100,000 up to the limit of $150,000 shall require 1 credit denial. (Credit denials from conventional lenders is usually required for non-emergency state loan programs)
  • The 3-year residency requirement for US Citizens and permanent resident aliens shall not apply.
  • Collateral requirements may be modified or waived, as necessary, on a case-by-case basis. Wherever possible, the provisions of Section 155-11, Security forLoans, should be followed.
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For agribusinesses and farmers needing loans of $50,000 or less, micro-loans involving less paperwork and swifter processing are also available.

For further information, contact the Agricultural Loan Division in Honolulu at 
808-973-9460 or email [email protected]

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