Hawaii County considers agricultural tourism bill

Published On: Sep 04 2013 11:21:46 AM HST
HILO, Hawaii -

Hawaii County lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow small farmers to give tours and sell souvenirs on their property -- something larger farms may already do.

Legislation due to be heard by the council on Thursday would split agricultural activities into major and minor operations.

West Hawaii Today reports the bill would limit minor operations to 5,000 visitors annually and a 100 visitors per week. A major operation would be allowed up to 30,000 visitors per year.

The Hawaii Agritourism Association and other supporters say the bill will help small farmers survive the vagaries of the economy and weather by providing a reliable supplemental source of income.

Opponents worry the measure will pull farmers away from their primary occupation while increasing agricultural land values and property taxes.

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