September 26, 2023

On Wednesday, Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green signed 10 bills into law that support local agriculture.

The measures enhance local food production through the acquisition of the Wahiawā Irrigation System; provide funding to deal with little fire ants and coffee pest control; expand coffee labeling regulations; and increase penalties for pesticide violations.

“Hawaiʻi has more than 1.1 million acres of farmland, with people who do back-breaking work to feed all of us, while trying to earn a living,” Green said. “Despite this work by generations of farm families, we import around 85% of the food we eat. I want to bring that percentage down, way down, to improve our food security. To do that, we have to support local agriculture and make farming easier and less costly for the whole industry.”

Green added: “The bills being signed today expand the role of agriculture across our islands, which also will enhance farmers’ resiliency and ability to fully use their agriculturally zoned lands to produce both food- and non-food commodities, without barriers resulting from expired restrictions.”

SB833 SD2 HD3 CD1, Relating to the Wahiawā Irrigation System 

Requires the Office of the Governor to negotiate the state’s fee simple acquisition of the Wahiawā Irrigation System on the island of Oʻahu. Authorizes and appropriates funds for the Department of Agriculture, Agribusiness Development Corporation and Department of Land and Natural Resources to purchase, repair and maintain the Wahiawā Irrigation System and the associated spillway.     


HB615 HD1 SD1, Restrictions on agricultural uses and activities 

Clarifies that any provision in a private agreement contained in a conveyance of land recorded on or before July 8, 2003, that has since expired but has not been renewed and recorded in the bureau of conveyances, is prohibited from restricting bona fide agricultural uses and activities on agricultural land.

HB692 HD1 SD1 CD1, Relating to Pesticides 

Increases the maximum administrative and criminal penalties for violators of the Hawaiʻi pesticides law.

SB746 SD1 HD2 CD1, Coffee labeling


Expands the coffee labeling and advertising requirements to include ready-to-drink coffee beverages and the inner packages and inner wrapping labels of roasted coffee, instant coffee and ready-to-drink coffee beverages. Specifies that the coffee labeling and advertising requirements apply if the applicable products are produced in whole or in part from Hawaiʻi-grown and Hawaii-processed green coffee beans. Requires disclosure on the label of coffee blends of the respective geographic and regional origins and percent by weight of the blended coffees. Prohibits use of the term “All Hawaiian” in labeling or advertising for roasted coffee or instant coffee not produced entirely from green coffee beans grown and processed in Hawaiʻi. Effective on July 1, 2024.

SB1588 SD2 HD2 CD1, Relating to food safety

Appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture to establish and implement a GroupGAP food safety training and certification program.

HB307 HD1 SD1 CD1, Relating to agricultural park leases

Allows the Department of Agriculture to extend the agricultural park lease of any lessee who holds a lease with a remaining term of 15 years or less, if the land covered by the lease is 25 acres or less and located in a county with a population of less than 500,000.


HB695 HD2 SD1 CD1, Relating to fences.

Allows the use of battery-charged security fences used for non-agricultural purposes, under certain circumstances.

HB972 HD1 SD1 CD1, Relating to animal industry special fund

Adds revenue generated by the State Veterinary Laboratory and Animal Disease Control Branch as sources for the Animal Industry Special Fund and clarifies that the funds from the special fund may be expended to make laboratory improvements.

SB743 SD1 HD1 CD1, Relating to pest control

Extends the sunset date for the Coffee Berry Borer and Coffee Leaf Rust Pesticide Subsidy Program to June 30, 2025; and the program manager position, including the position’s civil service and collective bargaining laws exemption, to June 30, 2026. Requires the Department of Agriculture to report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds for the operation and implementation of the Pesticide Subsidy Program.

SB1552 SD2 HD1 CD1, Relating to invasive species.

Appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to support the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab in mitigating the effects of little fire ants in the state.

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