Farmers in Hawaii lose $11M to thefts
Agricultural theft cost Hawaii farmers $11.4 million last year, about 9 percent of the industry's revenues, according to a new federal survey.
About 1,000 farmers responded to the survey, which is the first aimed at understanding the extent of farm theft in the islands.
"Until now there was no source of reliable data or statistics that could define the size and scope of the problem," state Board of Agriculture Chairwoman Sandra Lee Kunimoto said yesterday in a news release. "The results of this survey will assist in the development of programs to help farmers better protect their farms and businesses."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture survey was conducted in June and showed farmers spent $7.4 million on security measures and lost about $2 million to agricultural theft and $2 million to farm vandalism.
"We have always felt strongly that farmers and ranchers were losing millions 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."
Oahu led the state in losses, with farmers reporting $218,000 in lost crops and $506,000 in stolen equipment. The Big Island had the highest livestock theft losses, totaling $213,000.
The survey showed that large and small farms alike were victims of agricultural theft.