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Sinenci seeks input on priorities for new Department of Agriculture

By Staff | Jun 18, 2021

Maui County Councilmember Shane M. Sinenci said he plans to introduce legislation later this year to prioritize the county Department of Agriculture’s work and is considering related funding mechanisms.

HANA — Maui County Councilmember Shane M. Sinenci last week announced that public comments are being sought on budgetary and policy priorities for the new Maui County Department of Agriculture, which will begin operations on July 1, 2022.

Sinenci said he encourages Lanai, Maui and Molokai residents to take the Maui Food Security Now survey at https://www.mauifoodsecuritynow.com/areas-of-need-survey.

Now in his second term in the Hana residency area seat on the Maui County Council, Sinenci introduced the Department of Agriculture charter amendment as a freshman.

The proposal was approved at last year’s general election, creating a new department that will be charged with diversifying and expanding sustainable forms of agriculture and ensuring access to locally grown agricultural products.

“I thank Maui County residents for approving the charter amendment to support local sustainable agriculture,” said Sinenci, who chairs the council’s Agriculture and Public Trust Committee. “Growing our own food, diversifying our economy and protecting our environment are more important than ever.”

“Now, as we’re a year away for the Department of Agriculture’s establishment, I’m inviting members of our community to kokua by sharing their views and ideas on how new budget and policy ordinances can maximize the department’s effectiveness.”

Sinenci noted the online survey isn’t affiliated with Maui County but does offer another platform for the community to share ideas on shaping the Department of Agriculture’s launch and future.

“The Department of Agriculture will take office next summer,” Sinenci said. “So, even though we just finished our fiscal year 2021-2022 budget session, it’s already time to start thinking about the next budget.

“I know I speak for my colleagues on the council when I say it’s important to fulfill the voters’ intent and ensure the Department of Agriculture fulfills its mandates for developing ‘a sustainable regional agricultural system’ and ‘increasing opportunities in the agricultural sector.’ We need and value the public’s suggestions.”