On Oct. 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced that starting in January 2016, the agency will do a “green bean pricing valuation” for all coffee grown in Hawaii. This, according to Hawaii’s congressional delegation, is a better way to “reflect market values.” It also makes reporting easier on the growers.
“Despite achieving global recognition, Hawai‘i-grown coffee has long been valued differently than most of the global coffee market,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, D–2nd District, in an Oct. 29 press release from her office. “This announcement by the USDA to value Hawaiʻi coffee in the same way as the global coffee marketplace will better align with global valuation standards, increase the value of Hawaiʻi-grown coffee, and help attract additional research and development funds to support our local coffee farmers and industry. Hawaiʻi is our nation’s only domestic coffee producer, and this change will help strengthen our coffee industry and increase its potential for growth.”
Under the plan, all Hawaii-grown coffee will go from the current “field crop” model to a “non-citrus fruits and nuts” model. This makes it easier for growers to publish data in a more timely manner, according to the congressional delegation. The relevant data includes bearing acreage, yields, total production, utilized production, average price and the value of production on a cherry basis.
“The USDA currently understates the value of Hawaiʻi’s coffee crops, which impacts the availability of financing, and the importance of coffee to the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the news release. “This action by the USDA will make it easier for Hawai‘i farmers to get loans, and to secure federal funding for research and pest control.”
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, D–Hawaii, agreed.
“This change will increase the reported value of Hawaiʻi-grown coffee to more accurately reflect its critical role in Hawaiʻi agriculture as well as its position in the global coffee market,” said Hirono in the news release. “This is a big win for our coffee farmers and was made possible thanks to members of the Hawaiʻi agriculture community and our ongoing collaboration with the USDA.”