Hawaii has become the first U.S. commonwealth to approve taxation credits for organic farmers, a huge potential boost for the industry.
A bill now awaiting Gov. David Ige’s signaturewould offer farmers up to $50,000 in taxation credits to help offset the costs of get certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The measure, if it becomes law, may promote similar the programmes in other states and aid feed America’s growing appetite for organic foods.
“Organic agriculture has a huge role to play in addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time — economic revitalization, climate change, public health and environmental protection, ” Ashley Lukens, director of Hawaii Center for Food Safety, said in a statementpraising passageway of the laws and regulations.
Such initiatives, Lukens said, depict the state is stepping up “to fulfill its responsibility to support local meat and distinguish organic farming.”
Organic certification often is a significant fiscal objection for farmers — expensing hundreds to thousands of dollars, according to the USDA.
The USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Shareprogram currently helps farmers with up to 75 percent of their certification expenses, but it has a maximum of $750. If signed into law, Hawaii’s tax breaks would reimburse farmers for the remaining expenses, and would help small-minded farms cover additional overheads like application fees, inspection costs and equipment to develop organic products.
The U.S. has ensure a 300 percent increase in certified organic farms since 2002. But the surge isn’t enough to satisfy the growing demand from buyers. Some industries, like Costco, have resorted to financing organic farmers directly to meet demand.
Hawaii’s legislation would “make a huge difference, particularly for a new generation of farmers who want to farm differently in a more sustainable way, but absence the necessary resources for get started, ” state Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced the statute, told The Huffington Post.
A whopping 88 percent of Hawaii’s food is imported.
“If we want to help grow local agriculture and genuinely change our precarious reliance[ on imported meat ], ” Lee said, “then we need to take big steps.”
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