Thursday, February 21, 2013

Portion of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's: 2013 State of the State Address

As we strive to be more self-sufficient and decrease our dependence on imported foods, we must give local farmers the tools that they need to overcome the challenges that face their industry. To this end, we will aggressively promote state agency purchases of local agricultural products so that farmers know that there is a consistent and regular market for their goods. We will also increase access to capital for farmers and ranchers by expanding the state Department of Agriculture’s loan programs. We are supporting the goals of the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council and, I note, efforts by Kamehameha Schools to expand cattle ranching on Oahu’s North Shore.

An integral component to nurturing Hawaii’s agriculture industry is the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, or CTAHR. Under the vigorous leadership of its new dean, Dr. Maria Gallo, CTAHR is poised to meet critical research and extension needs if given the support.

If we are going to nurture and expand our local agriculture – if we are going to be talking about how we meet the challenges of the 21st century and ensure that we perpetuate “our” Hawaii, its natural beauty and environment – the question is what must we do keep our watershed areas protected. The Department of Land and Natural Resources Watershed Initiative remains a top priority.
Our forests can capture and collect up to 50 percent more water than through rainfall alone.
When forests disappear, Hawaii shrinks its source of water. In the last 200 years, more than half of Hawaii’s forests have been lost. The longer we wait to take significant action, the higher the cost will be to reverse the damage, thereby threatening water supplies for future generations.

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