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Funding for Ag Losses Due to Deer

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Molokai farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses at the mouths of axis deer since last summer can now apply for funding to help mitigate the damages. The Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture just announced financial assistance available on a first come, first served basis for axis deer damages on Molokai, with applications being accepted until March 8 at 12 p.m.

“This relief initiative is to provide emergency financial assistance to eligible Molokai [and] Maui farmers and ranchers with sustained economic losses resulting from the loss of pasture forage for cattle, death of cattle, destruction of farms, reduced crop yields, and other agriculture property damages, arising directly from the excessive axis deer population since July 1, 2020,” states the announcement. “Eligible expenses may include costs expended in protective/mitigating measures, relating to seeds, replanting efforts, livestock replacement, fencing, fuel, labor, and rental equipment as necessary to restore the producers’ agricultural operations to functioning status.”

Applicants must describe their losses directly attributed to deer overpopulation, how the financial assistance will be used, and what measurable outcomes and benefits are expected from the financial assistance. Those awarded funding will be required to submit a final report detailing expenses paid for with the state funds and the actual outcomes and benefits.

Up to $10,000 award is allowed per eligible operation.

“As you all know, I’ve been working with the Governor, DLNR-DoFAW, HDOA and the County of Maui regarding the damage caused by the axis deer exacerbated by the current drought,” said Rep. Lynn DeCoite last Friday. “HDOA Chair Shimabukuro-Geiser and I have had many conversations to see how best HDOA could assist farmers and ranchers that had losses due to the deer. HDOA worked to see what funding they had available and just posted the application…”

To apply, visit hands.ehawaii.gov/hands/opportunities/opportunity-details/19971 and scroll to the bottom for a PDF fillable form link.

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