September 04, 2014

Hawaii County gets agriculture disaster designation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared Hawaii County a disaster area based on damage to crops by Tropical Storm Iselle, Secretary Thomas Vilsack said Wednesday.

Vilsack, in a letter, said the declaration, which “makes farm operators (in the county) … eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met.”

“Much of East Hawaii’s agricultural sector, including papayas, macadamia, coffee, and the floriculture and nursery industry, sustained damage from Tropical Storm Iselle,” Hirono said in an email statement. “The most severe loss was to papaya farmers. An estimated 60 percent of statewide papaya production was devastated. Preliminary assessments indicate that damage and losses due to the storm for papaya farmers is over $50 million. Many of the papaya farmers are small, family operations that did not have catastrophic crop insurance. … Federal resources are urgently needed to help our farmers and access to emergency loans is an important option for farmers as they work to recover.”

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Source: West Hawaii Today