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Hirono Announces $483,000 in Federal Funding to Assist Agriculture Community in Volcano Recovery Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C.-  Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that the Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council (SHAC) will receive more than $483,000 in federal funding from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to assist farmers impacted by the volcanic activity on Hawaii Island. 

“In July, I met with members of Hawaii Island’s floriculture industry whose livelihoods were devastated by the volcanic eruption. They told me that despite the challenges they face, they want to restart their businesses as soon as possible,” Senator Hirono said. “I am committed to ensuring that Hawaii Island’s agriculture community receives the assistance they need as recovery efforts continue.”

The MBDA disaster relief grant will fund the creation of a business recovery hub that will provide assessments, financial planning resources, and marketing and skills training to agricultural businesses who need assistance in returning to production. The funding will also be used to create a central quarantine location to facilitate importation of new seeds and plants material; establish a training center to expand international sales; and set up a baseyard to bring down the costs of materials for individual farmers. 

Since the eruption began in May, Senator Hirono has been a persistent advocate for affected residents. Senator Hirono wrote to the MBDA in support of the SHAC’s grant application as part of her ongoing advocacy to assist Hawaii Island farmers. In June, Senator Hirono secured a provision in the Senate Farm Bill that would allow volcano-impacted farmers to retroactively apply for coverage under the Non-insured Crop Assistance Program.

Last month, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting direct assistance to farmers impacted by volcanic activity and other natural disasters. In July, Senator Hirono convened a meeting with the Hawaii Island floriculture community to hear more about the ongoing challenges they face in recovering from volcanic activity.