From the Associated Press story, Hawaii has been selected to participate with 12 other states in a survey of honeybee pests and diseases.
Hawaii beekeepers have been battling varroa mites and hive beetles for the past few years, jeopardizing the bee and honey industry statewide. In addition, bee pollination is critical for certain types of pollination-based crops.
Today, Rep. Clift Tsuji will be the guest speaker at the Air Cargo Association meeting. He'll be presenting a Legislature Update: Focus on Agriculture. Here are some main points of the presentation:
Major Agriculture Bills Passed:
HB1684 Fines and penalties for intentional spreading or introducing of invasive species. This bill became law as Act 128.
SB2523 Strengthening agriculture inspection and biosecurity laws. This bill was enrolled to the Governor and awaits signature.
Major Agriculture Objectives/Issues:
*Providing an adequate number of inspectors to clear cargo in a timely manner.
*Preventing invasive species from impacting our farms and forests.
*Increased interceptions by USDA and in California has resulted in the embargo of Hawaii grown products.
*Newly established pests have hit ti leaf farms and beekeepers.
*Planning for inspection facilities that provide for the proper and safe storage and handling of cargo, expecially agricultural and food commodities awaiting inspection.
Photo: Honolulu Advertiser. Inspectors shake out Christmas trees for pests.
Funding for Agiculture Inspectors
In 2009, 52 out of 73 general funding inspector positions were given reduction in force (RIF) layoff notices. Twenty two (22) were temporarily reinstated.
In 2010, the 22 reinstated positions were placed on special funds, and 23 RIF positions were brought back by the legislature on general funds.