Sunday, December 5, 2010

Governor Elect Abercrombie Appoints State Senator Kokubun as Department of Agriculture Director

According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii's governor elect Neil Abercrombie nominated state Senator Russell Kokubun (D, South Hilo-Puna-Kau) to serve as chairman and director of the state Department of Agriculture ("DOA"). Kokubun will replace outgoing director Sandra Lee Kunimoto.

According to his state capitol webpage, Kokubun lists the following experience:
  • Member, Senate Health Care Summit Working Group (2010-Present)
  • Chair, Senate Ad Hoc Committee (2009)
  • Legislator in Residence, UH College of Social Sciences Public Policy Center (2008)
  • Chair, Hawai`i 2050 Sustainability Task Force (2005-2008)
  • Member, Joint Investigative Committee on Bureau of Conveyances (2007)
  • Member, Joint Investigative Committee on Felix Consent Decree (2001)
  • Member, Board of Land and Natural Resources (1998-2000)
  • Advisor, National Trust for Historic Preservation (1994-1999)
DOA has approximately 300 employees statewide. It is headed by the executive board of agriculture. The executive board is comprised of ten members who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate: one representative from each of the counties of Hawaii, Kauai and Maui; four at-large members; Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; and the Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources - University of Hawaii.

Pursuant to HRS § 26-16, DOA shall:
  1. Promote the conservation, development, and utilization of agricultural resources in the State;
  2. Assist the farmers of the State and any others engaged in agriculture by research projects, dissemination of information, crop and livestock reporting service, market news service, and any other means of improving the well-being of those engaged in agriculture and increasing the productivity of the lands;
  3. Administer the programs of the State relating to animal husbandry, entomology, farm credit, development and promotion of agricultural products and markets, and the establishment and enforcement of the rules on the grading and labeling of agricultural products; and
  4. Administer the aquaculture.

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