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Hawaii’s Crown Jewels of U.S. Agriculture

Posted by Shawn Clark, Hawaii State Statistician, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science
Apr 07, 2020
Taro leaves
Taro, a culturally significant crop for people in the Aloha state, produces lush and beautifully shaped leaves. Photo courtesy of Regina Hidano, USDA NASS.

Without a doubt, Hawaii is an influencer’s paradise when it comes to spurring creativity for storytellers, brands, and entertainment on social media platforms of all kinds. But are these “influencers in the wild” missing out on the crowning jewel of U.S. agriculture? Maybe not, but there is a wellspring of inspirational agriculture growing in Hawaii.

Many of the unique things produced by farmers in Hawaii could inspire an influencer. As the recent Ag Census data shows, there are a myriad of agricultural products special to our state, like our starfruit. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the Aloha State leads the United States in macadamia nut, papaya, passion fruit, taro, bananas, coffee, pineapple, and ginger root acreage. Hawaii is the only U.S. state where these edible gems are grown for widespread commercial use.

Hawaii’s farmers burst with creativity and are growing as a community. Our state is one of the few where total land in farms increased from 1.129 million acres to 1.135 million acres. For other states, this is not the case. Just like a diamond reflects light on a crown, this increase reflects the efforts of the state to continue increasing Hawaii’s food security and self-sufficiency. Hawaii’s number of farms increased to 7,328 in 2017, up 5% from 2012. The greatest increase in the number of farms came from small farms between one to nine acres.

In my state, the ocean is more than beautiful. It provides for an aquaculture industry growing amazing algae, fish, and more. Ag Census data show aquaculture sales increased from $57 million in 2012 to $74 million in 2017 in Hawaii.

Interested in learning more about the inspirational agriculture of the Aloha State? Visit Hawaii State Profile data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Starfruit may not look like stars when growing in trees. When sliced, you can more easily see the star shape. Hawaii is the only U.S. state where this tropical fruit grows well.
Category/Topic: Research and Science