$2.6M going to farmers, ranchers to help offset mainland shipping costs

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii and Pacific Rim farmers and ranchers will soon receive $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help offset high shipping costs to get their products to the mainland.

Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka made the announcement on Thursday.

The Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program for Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (RTCP) provides payments to compensate the cost of transporting agricultural goods over long distances.

"Farmers and ranchers in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific Rim are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes time to take their products to market in the contiguous continental United States and around the world. I am pleased that this program provides some compensation to those in the Pacific who are working hard to make a living off the land while providing food for our communities, the nation, and the world" Sen. Inouye said.

The program will help farmers and ranchers in Alaska, Hawaii, Commonwealth Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands of the U.S., Federate States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau.

"This program helps to sustain agriculture in Hawaii and the Pacific territories, an important part of our economy that provides jobs, sustainability, and a greener environment. I encourage Hawaii's farmers and ranchers to take full advantage of this program," Sen. Akaka said..

For more information, on the RTCP program, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.