December 5, 2022

DOA Press Release: Agricultural Land Use Baseline Study Update

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has released an updated 2020 Agricultural Land Use Baseline Study that summarizes agricultural land use in the state. The newly released study adds new farmland use data for Maui County and now complements the 2020 baseline report. The first 2020 update was released in May 2021 and included data for O `ahu, Hawai`i Island and Kaua`i. It should be noted that the impacts of COVID-19 on agriculture are not reflected in the 2020 reports, as much of the data was compiled before the pandemic. The 2020 reports update data from the 2015 benchmark report.

With the addition of Maui County data, the 2020 benchmark report for the state has 886,211 total farm acres, a decrease of 27,050 acres, or minus 3% from 2015. acres of crops planted in 2020 was 120,632, a decrease of 31,199 acres or less. 21 percent. The loss of planted acres was attributed to the closure of the Hawai`i Commercial & Sugar Company in Maui in 2016, which removed 38,810 acres of cultivated acreage.

Base studies provide a wide range of maps and charts illustrating the location of cultures with island-by-island summaries. It is a snapshot in time intended to help industry, government and the community make decisions that affect agricultural land use in the state.

The 2020 updated reports and the 2015 report were written under contracts with the University of Hawaii at the Hilo Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (SDAV) Laboratory, which used technology from the geographic information system and aerial imagery from multiple sources to digitally document the engaged land footprint. in commercial-scale agriculture statewide. Both reports are available on the HDOA website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/salubreports. GIS metadata for the 2015 and 2020 reports are available on the State Planning Bureau’s Geospatial Data Portal at: https://geoportal.hawaii.gov/ (Land Use & Land Cover)

“Basic agriculture reports are valuable for tracking the state of agriculture in Hawai`i and provide a gauge for long-term planning for the future,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, president of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Baseline data from 2020 will help determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in years to come and could help develop early responses to local, national and global crises.”

During this period, data shows that total farm acreage on the island of Maui fell 19% to 122,959 acres, primarily due to the loss of sugar cane production. Some of the acreage loss was partially offset by gains in other crops, such as diversified crops (+1,823 acres, or +115%), macadamia nuts (+606 acres, or +32% ), tropical fruits (+508 acres, or +488 percent). Pastures also increased (+6,794, or +6%). Crops that decreased acreage on the island were seed production and pineapple.

On Moloka`i, the cultivated area remained stable between 2015 and 2020 with 41,747 total acres (-0.3 acres). Lana`i saw an increase of 65 acres in agriculture, totaling 105 acres (+62%).

Recorded in the previous 2020 update, data from O`ahu showed a total farm area of ​​41,312 acres, an increase of 495 acres. (+1.2%) from 2015 survey data. However, cultivated area increased by 924 acres (+4.1%) and was mainly driven by diversified agriculture with an increase of 730 acres ( +7.4%). Taro acreage also increased by 26 acres (+51 percent) and tropical fruit acreage increased by 33 acres (+14.5 percent) over 2015. Gains on O’ahu were offset by the loss of acreage in pastures which decreased by a total of approximately 430 acres, primarily due to the creation of a solar project on former cattle pastures in Waipio. The study also accounted for the loss of 360 acres of diversified farmland to a subdivision development along the H-2 highway.

On the island of Hawaii, total farm area was 614,552, a decrease of 891 acres (-0.14%) from 2015. Over the past five years, the island has faced natural disasters, including adverse weather conditions and volcanic activity. In addition, island agriculture faced invasive pests such as coffee berry borer and spittlebug.

The 2018 eruption in the east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano covered approximately 1,000 acres of productive agricultural land in Puna, which included diversified crops, horticulture, macadamia, papaya and rice farms. tropical fruits. Despite these losses, most of these crops gained acreage during the survey period, with diversified crops gaining 1,076 acres (+33%), papaya gaining 640 acres (+25%) and tropical fruits gaining 167 acres (+5%). Dairy acreage fell by around 1,000 acres due to the closure of Big Island Dairy in 2019. The survey noted the first return of sugar farming to the island with 14 acres in Hawi which is part of a distillery.

Kaua`ia saw a total farm area of ​​65,536, gaining 2,294 acres (+3.6%) over 2015. Kauai crops in particular gained more than 1,880 acres (+8.8%) over to 2015. Of this increase, over 950 acres were allocated to seed production and 816 acres allocated to commercial forestry operations. Banana, coffee, taro and tropical fruits have also gained acreage on the island. However, diversified crops lost 53 acres (-4.4%) from 2015. Pastures continue to make up the majority of farm area (65%) on Kaua`i.

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Link to the 2015 and 2020 agricultural land use baseline studies: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/salubreports/

Media Contact: Janelle Saneishi

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Public Information Officer

Phone. : (808) 973-9560 email: [email protected]