Hawaii Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) - Hawaii Legislature Special Committee - Hawaii State Auditor - Championship Bull Riding - This Ain't Our First Rodeo
AGRIBUSINESS AGENCY PLEADS FOR MORE TIME TO DEAL WITH LONGSTANDING ISSUES
Meanwhile, lawmakers want the agency to hasten its pace in addressing defciencies a state audit found earlier this year
By Blaze Lovell, Honolulu Civil Beat, September 21, 2021
Rep. Amy Perusso, who represents part of Oahu that includes some ADC lands near Wahiawa,
questioned why the agency has not put more resources into addressing the auditor’s fndings. She
asked the ADC who should take charge in leading change in the agency: the ADC itself or the
[Myra Kaichi, ADC Senior Executive Assistant] said she hopes for a broad discussion. [ADC Executive
Director Jimmy Nakatani] told Perusso that since the audit was only published this year, the ADC
would need more time to address its fndings. [Clarifcation Supplied]
In a separate hearing Tuesday afternoon, Kondo spent about 10 minutes arguing with the committee
chairwoman, House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, over a simple factual question regarding what
dates the audit began and ended. Belatti said that he was uncooperative, but Kondo accused the
committee of trying to access the auditor's work papers, which are confdential by law.
In a closing statement, Kondo again chastised the House committee for conducting what he sees as
another probe of his ofce. “We do not play politics,” Kondo said. “The fact that you are attacking us
clearly refects some members' priorities. It apparently is not a priority, and seemingly never was a
priority to understand our audit and ADC's actions to address the fndings. It was never about holding
ADC accountable. It was never about helping ADC to be the leader that the Legislature envisioned.”
Belatti said it’s not fair for Kondo to draw conclusions about the committee's investigation or its
members' intentions since it is still doing its work.
The committee has plans to subpoena more records from the ADC and another state land agency, and
could have more hearings in October. It's set to have a report on its fndings in time for the next
legislative session in 2022. The meetings pick up again Thursday when the committee hears from state
Agriculture Director Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser. [Emphasis Supplied]
REVIVING AGRICULTURE TO DIVERSIFY HAWAII’S ECONOMY
By Sumner La Croix and James Mak, UHERO, January 21, 2021
[Excerpt, Citations Omitted]
The Whitmore Village project is an ambitious plan to revitalize agriculture in Central Oahu around the
town of Wahiawa and the lands acquired in the area since 2012. [Emphasis Supplied]
The project is centered around ADC plans to establish an Agri-Business Technology Park where food
can be processed and packaged that meets food safety standards, and farmers can share facilities to
reduce operational costs. A master plan for the project is mentioned in some ADC materials, but is
not publicly available. ADC had plans, at least prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, to acquire more land
to add to its growing inventory in central Oahu.
In 2020 ADC directly manages 22,161 acres of land, with 18,346 acres served by irrigation systems.
Through FY2018 the Legislature had appropriated about $288 million to ADC for capital improvement
projects (CIP) of which $255 million were for land acquisition. It is extremely challenging to evaluate
ADC's performance as little information is publicly available and easily accessible. THE
CORPORATION HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS “A BLACK BOX WHEN IT COMES TO PUBLIC
INFORMATION.” [Emphasis Supplied, Citations Omitted]]
One might expect that a good source of information about ADC would be its annual reports. Since its
establishment in 1994, ADC has issued only three annual reports (FY2018, FY2019 and FY2020).
The information contained in the annual reports is spartan and incomplete. For example, fnancial
statements for FY2018 were presented for only two revolving funds, the Agriculture Development
Resolving Fund and the Waiahole Water System Revolving Fund, rather than the entire ADC.
To fnd additional information on ADC's operating and capital expenditures, we consulted with the
Dept. of Agriculture's annual budget report (Program ID AGR161, Report P61-A). There we fnd that
for FY2018, total ADC operating cost was $4.7 million; $4.2 million came from revolving funds,
$500,000 from special funds, and $50,601 from the General Fund. In FY2018 capital expenditures
(mostly for construction) totaled $11.2 million fnanced by the issuance of General Obligation bonds.
ADC's goals, objectives and action plans are ambitious and sweeping. Performance measures—which
are not included in the annual report—are submitted to the Legislature in the HDOA Variance Report.
The Variance Report focuses narrowly on the diference between planned program expenditures and
actual expenditures. For example, in FY2019 Agribusiness Development and Research (Report V51,
AGR161), ADC was budgeted at $5.5 million but actually spent only $2.5 million, a diference of 54
In the Variance Reports, HDOA sets forth seven quantitative measures of ADC efectiveness:
1. Agricultural lands directly managed by ADC;
2. Agricultural lands served by ADC irrigation systems and infrastructure;
3. Irrigation systems and infrastructure projects managed by ADC;
4. Agriculture-related facilities managed by ADC;
5. ADC projects that beneft diversifed agriculture;
6. Land in agricultural conservation easements to which ADC holds title; and
7. Agricultural-related projects needing ADC evaluation and involvement.
We note that all of these performance measures relate to production inputs. THERE IS NO
PERFORMANCE MEASURE REGARDING THE ADDITIONAL OUTPUT OR SALES OF AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTS PRODUCED BY ADC'S LESSEES. THAT IS A SERIOUS OMISSION. IF THE END GOAL OF
ADC IS TO INCREASE DIVERSIFIED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, ONE MUST KNOW HOW MUCH
MORE AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT IS ACTUALLY PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF ADC'S ACTIVITIES .
FOR YEARS ADC HAS REBUFFED ANY FORMAL STATE AUDIT OF ITS OPERATIONS ARGUING
THAT IT IS TOO BUSY TO BE AUDITED BECAUSE OF ITS SMALL STAFF OF 10 EMPLOYEES IN
FY2019.38 IN 2019 THE LEGISLATURE VOTED TO REQUIRE AN AUDIT OF ADC AND A REPORT IS
DUE FROM THE STATE AUDITOR IN EARLY 2021. [Emphasis Supplied]