Hawaii voters will be faced with three important decisions relating to agriculture. They include:
- TWO STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS (also referred to as CON AMEND) to improve the safety and usefulness of dams and reservoirs and support agricultural enterprises via the use of Special Purpose
- MAUI COUNTY INITIATIVE that seeks to impose a moratorium on genetically modified plants.
CON AMEND: Relating to Dams & Reservoirs – Vote YES
Dams and reservoirs are a critical part of our State’s infrastructure, providing numerous benefits that our community depends upon. In addition to storing and delivering a reliable source of water for agriculture during dry periods, they assist with flood control during large storms, help to mitigate erosion and reduce sediment run off to near shore ocean reefs and play an important role in providing drinking water for Hawaii’s residents. By capturing storm water that otherwise would rush to the ocean, reservoirs help to recharge our groundwater aquifers, which are a primary source for much of Hawaii’s drinking water. Providing renewable energy through the use of hydropower is another significant community benefit derived from our dams and reservoirs.
The number of active dams and reservoirs in Hawaii is decreasing, partly because of increasing repair & operational costs. This special purpose revenue bond authorization will provide a much needed means of low-interest financing to upgrade, improve, and to enhance the safety of Hawaii’s dams and reservoirs. These bonds will be fully paid for by private investors and will not use State funds or impact State finances.
The continued operation of dams and reservoirs is extremely important in sustaining our water resources and enhancing public safety. This Constitutional amendment will greatly assist in ensuring the long term viability of dams and reservoirs and enable them to continue to serve as an important resource providing significant benefits throughout the State of Hawaii. Vote YES.
CON AMEND: Relating to Agricultural Enterprises – Vote YES
The Constitutional amendment to assist agricultural enterprises will expand critically needed revenue options to maintain the continued viability of farms and ranches. Major capital requirements that may be funded through the use of these special purpose revenue bonds include irrigation system improvements, agricultural processing facilities, agricultural equipment upgrades, and other essential operational needs. This Constitutional amendment will also enable farmers and ranchers to implement innovative agricultural concepts, ideas, and technology. Vote YES.
Maui: Voter Initiative: Genetically Engineered Organisms – Vote NO
Maui County, voters will be asked to vote on an initiative imposing a moratorium on the growing of genetically modified plants. Many have stated that this moratorium is temporary but no businesses can remain viable if asked to shutdown with no definite end in sight. Farm Bureau strongly supports all types of agriculture, organic, conventional and biotech and believes that all options need to be available for agriculture to be viable for Hawaii’s future. We believe adequate health and safety studies have been conducted on the seed industry’s farming practices and GMO crops. The County is not equipped with the expertise nor resources to address this measure. Over 600 jobs are at risk that will result in irreparable harm to our local economy. Vote NO.