Release: October 19, 2005
AGRICULTURAL THEFT COSTS HAWAII FARMERS ESTIMATED $11.4 MILLION IN 2004
HONOLULU – Statistics released nationally late yesterday estimate that agricultural theft, vandalism and security measures cost Hawaii farmers $11.4 million dollars in 2004. Included in that figure, actual theft of farm commodities, materials, equipment and other farm property is estimated at nearly $2 million. Vandalism on farms was equally as costly, amounting to another $2 million. In addition, the cost of security on farms totaled $7.4 million.
The special survey of 1,127 farmers statewide was conducted in June 2005 by the Hawaii Field Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) with funds provided by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and co-sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation (HFBF). About 80 percent of the farmers responded to the survey to determine the extent of farm property crimes in Hawaii and to estimate the amount of losses to farm operators.
“Agricultural theft has been a difficult problem to address in Hawaii and around the nation,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Until now, there was no source of reliable data or statistics that could define the size and scope of the problem. The results of this survey will assist in the development of programs to help farmers better protect their farms and their businesses,” added Kunimoto.
HDOA is in the process of applying for grant support to develop farmer education relating to the agricultural theft problem and the statistics will help to provide quantitative and qualitative information. The proposed program will help farmers manage and reduce risks on the farm.
Earlier this year, the State Legislature passed and Governor Linda Lingle signed two bills initiated by the HFBF, which strengthens laws to protect farms. Act 181 toughened agricultural trespass laws and Act 182 made agricultural and livestock theft easier to prosecute by requiring documentation of ownership when transporting commodities and livestock.
“This agricultural theft and vandalism survey is the first of its kind that has ever been conducted by USDA-NASS,” said Mark E. Hudson, Director of the NASS Hawaii Field Office. “We appreciate the cooperation of the farmers and ranchers across the state in providing the first-hand information that helped to make the results of this study possible.”
The HFBF assisted in the preparation of the survey questions and in helping to increase farmer response to the survey.
"We have always felt strongly that farmers and ranchers were losing million of dollars due to agricultural theft and vandalism," said Alan Takemoto, executive director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. "We now can substantiate our concerns with this hard data. The Farm Bureau advocated for this survey so that we can analyze and address this ongoing problem systematically," added Takemoto.
The eight-page report contains 28 tables that provide statistics on ag theft, vandalism and trespassing. The full report is available on HDOA’s website at: http://www.nass.usda.gov/hi/speccrop/agtheft.htm
In 2004, the City and County of Honolulu led the state in crop theft losses amounting to $218,000 and machinery and equipment losses totaling $506,000. The Big Island had the highest livestock theft losses, which totaled $213,000. The survey showed that both large and small farms suffered from ag theft.
statistics include the cost of vandalism on farm property which totaled
as much as actual ag theft. Crop vandalism was highest on Maui, with
losses pegged at almost
Besides farm losses due to theft and vandalism, the survey results included information on:
For more information, contact: