COVID-19 Emergency Farmer Relief checks on the way

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State Department of Agriculture is mailing out the first batch of checks under the COVID-10 Emergency Farmer Relief Program on Wednesday, April 22.

HDOA received 333 applications for the grants and was able to award 106 proposals that ranged from $2,000 for individual farmers and ranchers and up to $10,000 for non-profit organizations, commodity groups, and agricultural associations that have experienced financial damage due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The total funding for the program was $250,000, which was drawn from the State’s barrel tax fund (Agriculture Development and Food Security Special Fund) and made available through Gov. David Ige’s March 4 emergency proclamation.

The Ulupono Foundation contributed an additional $20,000 to specifically assist local pork producers with feed costs, as they no longer can rely on food scraps from closed restaurants. Unfortunately, the limited funds could only fund fewer than one-third of all the requests.

HDOA awarded 86 individual farmers and ranchers $2,000 each for a total of $172,000. Thirteen non-profit agricultural organizations were awarded a total of $76,000 (ranging from $4,000 to $10,000). Relief funds may be used to help utilize an oversupply of agricultural products resulting from the decreased demand due to closures of restaurants, schools and other businesses.

Applications received by the March 27 deadline totaled more than $1.2 million dollars. Applications were reviewed by a panel and priority was given to proposals that demonstrated significant financial damage caused specifically by or exacerbated by the COVID-19 situation that poses a serious threat of permanently shutting down the applicant’s agricultural operations. Applicants were also required to submit W-9 taxpayer forms.

Grants were awarded statewide:

County# of grants
Hawaii Island26
Oahu54
Kauai10
Maui County16 (3 Lanai, 4 Molokai, 9 Maui)

Eligible farmers may apply for emergency loans of up to $150,000 at three percent interest. Loans of $100,000 or less will not require credit denials from other financial institutions, which would normally be required for agricultural loans. The board also waived the three-year residency requirements normally required for agricultural loans.

Since the program was approved by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture last week, 96 loan applications have been received statewide. 

Farmers interested in applying for emergency or micro loans should contact their nearest HDOA office:

  • Oahu, Kauai, Maui – (808) 973-9460
  • Hilo – (808) 933-9977
  • Kona – (808) 323-7591

For more information on agricultural loans, go to the division’s webpage:  http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/agl/

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