Hawaii County Offering Leases on Prime Ag Land in Pa'auilo on the Hamakua Coast
Finally! The County of Hawaii has determined it makes more sense to lease prime agricultural lands on the Hamakua Coast, rather than sell them in this down market!
Prime agricultural land, similar to this historical Mauna Kea Ranch for sale in Pa’auilo, is now being offered for lease by Hawaii County
In March of last year, the County of Hawaii, in all its wisdom, decided to sell off some prime agricultural land in Pa’auilo in the worst seller’s market in recent history. I questioned their decision at the time, and asked why they weren’t leasing the lands to local farmers instead.
18 months later, the County seems to have wised up and is inviting farmers, ranchers, and other interested applicants to bid on long-term leases for 718 acres of agriculturally-zoned county-owned lands in Pa’auilo. 16 parcels of land are being offered, from roughly 13 acres to nearly 110 acres in size. The County is asking for 10-year leases at a minimum lease price of $11.63 per acre per year.
“We are pleased to be offering these lands up to the community to put them back into productive agricultural use,” said County of Hawai’i Mayor, Billy Kenoi. “These lands have been sitting idle since the county first acquired them about 16 years ago, and we believe putting these lands back into production will provide a welcome boost to our agricultural sector.”
An informational Open House will be held at the Pa’auilo Gym from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on September 1, 2011 to discuss details of the leasing program and to answer questions from the public. All proposals by bidders must comply with the current agricultural zoning, must meet the terms of Hawai’i County Council Resolution 38-11, and be received by the county by 4:30 p.m. on October 14, 2011.
Here’s hoping that we’ll see the return of local farmers (instead of huge multi-national conglomerates like Monsanto) with sustainable business practices growing organic food that will help Big Island residents detach from our dependence on imported food and the oil that brings them to us, and put dollars back into our local island economy.