Agriculture census predicted to have large impact on Hawaii's farming industry

 UPDATED 7:54 PM HST Jun 02, 2013
HONOLULU -

It will have a huge impact on the future of Hawaii's farming industry. There are only a few days left for farmers to fill out the 2012 Agriculture census. Local farmers such as Alex Sou say they are extremely reliant on data from the agriculture census completed by farmers and ranchers. He says there isn't any other consistent state and county data because of that in 2008 he grew too much, that cost him a 30 percent loss. Now, he feels that recently people are starting to support local farms and the census results will help him figure out how much, and what to grow.

"Between the food service industry, the tourist industry, and it's been 16 to 17 years since sugar plantations ended here in Oahu, efforts between cross industry are really coming together," said Sou.

"My wife and I always make a point to always buy from the farmers market that we can find in Ewa and Waianae, and always ask our friends to support the farms too," said Michael Clark.

Since Hawaii is an isolated state, knowing the number of farms, viable crop land, and food trends from the census, helps ensure that the islands can provide food to residents without relying on imports.

"It gives them really good foundation for our farmers not only for them to be economically viable because then we would have to import all of our food," said Mark Hudson, director of the Hawaii branch of the USDA.

Farmers who haven't filled out the census yet still get a chance. The deadline has been extended to June 15. The last census was in 2007 before the economic collapse and before other major changes in Hawaii's agriculture. The 2012 results will be available in late February.

Do you want to print this page now?