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HDOA News Release: Federal Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Maui County Drought

Posted on Mar 9, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack, has approved Gov. David Ige’s request for a Secretarial Agricultural Disaster Designation for the drought emergency in Maui County.

Gov. Ige requested the federal disaster declaration due to the prolonged drought conditions in the county which began in March 2019. In January, Gov. Ige issued an emergency proclamation declaring a drought disaster in Maui County after ranchers and farmers suffered significant economic losses, including damage caused by large numbers of axis deer migrating into agricultural and developed areas seeking food and water.

“While the county has been dealing with heavy rain this week, that does not cure the damage caused by the prolonged drought,” said Gov. Ige. “The federal drought disaster declaration will allow our farmers and ranchers access to federal aid programs and assist them in recovery efforts.”

“The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture is currently reviewing about 60 applications for state grants to assist agricultural operations that have suffered damage caused by axis deer populations intensified by drought in the county,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.

The secretarial disaster designation makes agricultural operations in the county eligible for consideration for certain assistance, including emergency loans, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

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Media Contact:

Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer

Hawai`i Department of Agriculture

(808) 973-9560

[email protected]