HDOA poised to acquire 21,672 acres of ag land

Nov 28, 2023

Ninety-nine agriculture parcels, totaling 21,672 acres, could soon be transferred to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). This comes after the Hawaii Board of Agriculture (BOA) voted in October to accept the transfer of parcels from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). The action is now with the Board of Land and Natural Resources for concurrence.

In August, BOA approved the transfer of four parcels, totaling 36,005 acres, which is currently in the final process of transfer from the DLNR to HDOA. The land transfer was possible because of a 2003 Hawaii State Legislature mandate under Act 90 that was codified as Chapter 166E, HRS. The recent land transfers are significant progress after nearly two decades.

The lands being transferred will be used for various agricultural purposes, mainly pasture and ranching. Ulupono Initiative supports the transfer of the lands because it will allow the state to grow its own food. Additionally, it will help local ranchers, who are a critical component of assuring food security for the state with long term, affordable lease rates. The local livestock industry serves as stewards of the land, which in turn provides an increase in productivity and yields while also maintaining natural resources.

“This has been a long time coming and we are glad that this is one step closer to fulfilling the legislature’s mandate,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the HBOA. “Wherever I go in the state, ranchers have been asking about the transfer and we appreciate their patience and want to let them know that following through with Act 90 is a priority ... I must commend the work of HDOA’s Agricultural Resource Management Division and DLNR’s Land Division for forging ahead and conducting the due diligence that is required.”

In written testimony submitted earlier this year to the state Legislature, Ulupono Initiative stated: “We continue to believe that HDOA’s affordable, long-term leases allow local ranchers to immediately take advantage of existing, appropriate lease structures that incentivize long-term investments into their respective operations, improving economic viability, and increasing local food production for the state.”

Read HDOA’s press release on Act 90 here.