Protecting agriculture meeting set

State agencies have scheduled a seminar on Kauai on Wednesday, May 21 to raise public awareness about need to protect farmland and to promote the state’s agricultural industry.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Kauai Community College from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The seminars are sponsored by the state Office of Planning, the state Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

The seminars are anticipated to raise awareness about the challenges Hawaii’s farmers face today: Finding the most productive uses for former sugar cane lands and strengthening diversified agriculture.

Bob Wagner of the American Farmland Trust will lead the seminars. Wagner’s topic of dedication will be “Protect Farmland and Promoting Agriculture: Tools and Techniques from Across the Nation.”

American was founded in 1980 as a non-profit group to protect “strategic agricultural resources” of the United States and to guard against the loss of productive farmland.

With recent legislative interest in agricultural land use issues, the sponsors felt the information could help Hawaii farmers and farming interests develop plans to promote “sustainable agricultural development,” DOA officials said.

“This is an exciting time for agriculture, with tremendous potential for expansion in crops and valued-products,” Sandra Lee Kunimoto, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, said in a news release.

She said the state is at a “critical juncture in how we plan for a sustainable agricultural industry for Hawaii.”

She said Hawaii’s agricultural future may lay with diversified agriculture. “An important part of this is ensuring that agricultural lands and other resources are available for continued diversification now and in the future,” Kunimoto said.

For more information about the Kauai seminar, contact Janelle Saneishi, public information officer for DOA at 1-808-973-9560 or at http://hdoa.info@hawaii.vov.

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