The $956 billion farm bill passed the House and appears ready to be accepted by the Senate and the president. So, what’s in it for Hawaii?

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard‘s office provides the details. Major highlights include:

• Funding authorization for research and development to address the coffee berry borer invasive species and area-wide pest management plans.

• Disaster assistance includes such programs as the Tree Assistance Program, which helps Hawaii and Maui Island flower growers impacted by the ongoing drought.

• Provides an additional $20 million annually for The Emergency Food Assistance Program to support food banks. 

• Promotes Hawaii’s specialty crops — $800 million nationally for specialty crop research and $290 million for the specialty crop block grant program.

• Reauthorizes sugar program to support cultivation and about 800 jobs on Maui.

“The FARM bill compromise we passed in the House today reflects a commitment to farmers and consumers in Hawaii, and across the country,” Gabbard said in a press release. “By cutting wasteful direct payments and subsidies to mega-farms, the bill takes important steps to support small farmers and those who grow healthy food. … While I’m disappointed in overall SNAP funding reductions, it is important to note that the reforms made to this specific program will not affect Hawaii food stamp recipients.  …”


Photo: Chicken farming. (mauitimeweekly)

—Chad Blair