Hawaii Seeking Agricultural Disaster Declaration

January 7, 2009

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer to declare an agricultural disaster for Oahu and Kauai following December 2008’s heavy rains and flooding.

State Board of Agriculture chairwoman Sandra Lee Kunimoto said Friday that there have been reports of “significant damage” to crops due to the week of foul weather that ended Dec. 16, 2008.

A disaster declaration would mean farmers would be able to apply for federal assistance, such as low-interest loans.

Submitting the disaster request means federal officials will determine the extend of agricultural losses on the two islands.

State officials say more than 500 Oahu residents have reported damage to their homes and vehicles, while damage on Kauai has been estimated at more than $2.5 million.

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