As a farmer, I understand the challenges facing Hawaii Island farmers.
Sen. Lorraine Inouye is a long time small family farmer growing tropical plants, ornamentals and exotic fruit. Over the years, this has resulted in a deep personal understanding of the issues faced by island farmers and ranchers. Coupled with a commitment to help increase local food production to build food security, she was compelled to work with the North Kohala community beginning in 2016 to secure $1.5 million to comprehensively study Kohala’s ag water system to support sustainable farming for the next 50+ years. This community-driven planning has inspired widespread collaboration because, to be honest, long-term vision and planning such as this are exceedingly rare anywhere today!
In addition, Sen. Inouye secured an additional $750,000 for install photo voltaic to power for the Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant to reduce costs for Waimea farmers to prepare their produce for market.
Sen. Inouye also supported a $50,000 Grant In Aid during the 2018 legislative session for Kahua Pa’a Mua’s youth mentoring program following Korean natural farming strategies at Ho’ea. And in 2017, she helped Waimea Nui secure an $800,000 GIA for planning and construction of its community ag park. In 2017, she also supported funding for an agricultural grants program to assist next generation farmers in starting or expanding organic farms, and she helped Hawai’i ranchers secure $1.5 million for planning and design of a new slaughterhouse that will be a scalable model to be replicable on other islands to meet demand for locally produced meat.
The picture on Right is Senator Lorraine Inouye and fellow Legislators on WAM Tour visiting with the Lalamilio Farm lots Farmers Association at their Vacum Cooling Plant in Kamuela, Hawaii.
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