On The Issues
Agriculture is Hawaiʻi’s third largest industry. The devastating impact COVID-19 has had on our tourism driven economy presents an opportunity to expand agricultural in Hawai‘i. Doing so will create jobs, build communities, diversify our economy, and take tangible steps towards food security.
Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District (CD2) already produces 94 percent of the state’s agricultural sales. Every five years, Congress passes legislation — commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill” — that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. This important piece of legislation is critical to rural Hawaiʻi in terms of gaining funding for research, rural development, and marketing for CD2’s specialty crops, livestock, ornamentals, and fishing industries. In the past, the Farm Bill has provided support for the macadamia and coffee industries. Kai supports diversified agriculture and will work to increase the industrial hemp industry in Hawaiʻi in addition to securing additional agricultural research dollars for the University of Hawaiiʻs College of Tropical Agriculture. Kai believes that if we are serious about agriculture we need to incentivize it and provide farmers the necessary loans, grants, land, training, support and infrastructure to be successful. If elected, Kai hopes to have the opportunity to work on the next Farm Bill in Congress.
Kai is also a strong supporter of Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program, which aims to increase the number of new Native Hawaiian and Alaskan Native graduate scholars to carry out education, applied research, and related community development programs that strengthen the agricultural workforce. Kai also supports areawide integrated pest management, tropical and subtropical agriculture research, and invasive species control, including a USDA plan to address the impact of the Spittlebug on our environment and economy.