Hawaii News

State continues land transfers in effort to protect Hawai‘i’s agriculture, natural resources

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Map image courtesy of Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green’s office.

Hawai‘i is making steady progress on the complex and challenging work to transfer state leases for pastoral and agricultural lands from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to the state Department of Agriculture to preserve agriculture and natural resources throughout the islands.

A total of 24,200 acres of agricultural lands have been approved and transferred thus far. In October of last year, the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture accepted 99 more parcels on the list, encompassing 21,672 acres, which still requires the review and approval of the Hawai‘i Board of Land and Natural Resources.

“Protecting and preserving agriculture is mandated in the Constitution of the state of Hawai‘i,” said Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green. “The transfer of these leases, representing tens of thousands of acres, will help to further preserve important agricultural lands and support the state’s self-sufficiency.”


In 2003, the Hawai‘i Legislature passed Act 90, which provides that certain agricultural lands with or without leases could be transferred to the state Agriculture Department upon the approval of both of their governing boards.

“We know that many lessees are anxious about the future of their ranches and agricultural operations on state lands,” said state Board of Agriculture Chairperson Sharon Hurd. “We appreciate their patience and want to let them know that both our departments continue to work diligently to fulfill the requirements of Act 90 and balance the important issues of protecting agriculture and the environment.”

Photo courtesy of Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green’s office.

Lands identified for potential transfer are mostly pasture and ranch lands, but also include other agricultural parcels.


The Land Department is working in partnership with the Agriculture Department to transfer lands mutually agreed upon to be more appropriately managed by the state’s agriculture agency.

At the same time, each parcel is unique and should be reviewed individually to ensure lands with endangered wildlife and plant habitat, hiking access, native forest, watershed values and other natural and cultural resources continue to be managed by the Land Department.

While land transfers continue through the process, both state departments remain committed to working on the transfer of additional, suitable agricultural lands.


“As stewards of our islands’ precious land resources, we owe it to ourselves and our future generations to increase our ability to produce food locally, as well as to support all forms of agriculture,” Green said. “This will help to feed our families, to support our farmers, ranchers and floriculturists and expand diversification of our economy for generations to come.”

Photo courtesy of Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green’s office.

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