More Molokai farmers received grants
HDOA press release
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) will provide a second round of grants totaling an additional $ 200,000 under the COVID-19 Emergency Farmer Assistance Program to help farmers, ranchers and producers who suffered financial damage. During this second round, 96 grants were awarded, ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000 each, and will provide interim financial relief to help agribusinesses during the COVID-19 crisis, including seven grants on Molokai. The funds can be used to help use an oversupply of agricultural products resulting from a drop in demand due to the closure of restaurants, schools and other businesses.
Last month, HDOA awarded 106 grants totaling $ 270,000, of which $ 250,000 came from the state barrel fiscal fund (Special Fund for Agricultural Development and Food Security) and made available through the proclamation emergency from the Ige government of March 4 and $ 20,000 from the Ulupono Foundation to help pig farmers. with feed costs. Subsequently, HDOA was able to identify additional barrel tax funds planned for other projects and apply them to the emergency fund. The relief program has now awarded a total of approximately $ 470,000 through 202 grants.
“The sincere responses we received from grant recipients in the first round prompted us to seek even more additional funds so that we can help more agricultural producers,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chair of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “While these aren’t big grants, we know they help many small farms stay in business. “
HDOA received and reviewed a total of 333 grant applications at the end of March. Priority was given to requests demonstrating significant financial damage caused or exacerbated specifically by the COVID-19 situation which poses a serious threat to permanently shut down the applicant’s agricultural operations. The second round of grants was awarded to the following qualified applicants on the priority list.
HDOA is also providing financial assistance through an Emergency Farm Loan Program, which was approved by the Hawaii Agriculture Council on April 14. So far, the program has received over 125 inquiries and approximately 30 emergency loan applications.
The Emergency Loan Program provides loans at low interest rates to qualified farmers. Eligible farmers can apply for emergency loans of up to $ 150,000 at an interest rate of three percent. Loans of $ 100,000 or less will not require denial of credit from other financial institutions, which would normally be required for agricultural loans. The council also waived the three-year residency requirements normally required for agricultural loans. Micro loans under $ 25,000 are also available and involve less paperwork and offer faster processing.
Farmers interested in applying for an emergency loan or microcredit should contact the HDOA office at (808) 973-9460 or visit hdoa.hawaii.gov/agl.