Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture

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Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $42,101,000
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years coterminous with the governor
Selection Method:  Appointed by the governor
Current Officeholder

Russell Kokubun.jpg
Name:  Russell Kokubun
Assumed office:  December 2010
Compensation:  $103,512
Other Hawaii Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralDirector of FinanceAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerDirector of Commerce and Consumer AffairsChairperson of Land and Natural ResourcesDirector of Labor and Industrial RelationsPublic Utilities Commission
The Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture is an appointed, executive position in the Hawaii state government. The department's main objectives are to preserve, promote and develop essential agricultural resources and infrastructure; to create and maximize opportunities for exporting; and facilitate growth of existing and new agricultural commodities and by-products. In addition, the department works to prevent the introduction and establishment of plants, animals and diseases that are detrimental to the state's agriculture industry and the environment.[1][2]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Russell Kokubun.[3] He was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie in December 2010.[4] and previously served in the Hawaii State Senate, representing District 2 from 2000-2010.


The Department of Agriculture's executive board and the Commissioner of Agriculture's powers, term of office, etc. are derived from Division 1, Title 4, Chapter 26, Part I, Section 26-16 of the Hawaii Revised Statues.

Division 1, Title 4, Chapter 26, Part I, Section 26-16:

§26-16 Department of agriculture. (a) The department of agriculture shall be headed by an executive board to be known as the board of agriculture. The board shall consist of ten members:

(1) One who shall be a resident of the county of Hawaii; (2) One who shall be a resident of the county of Maui; (3) One who shall be a resident of the county of Kauai; (4) Four at large; and (5) The chairperson of the board of land and natural resources; the director of business, economic development, and tourism; and the dean of the University of Hawaii college of tropical agriculture and human resources, or their designated representatives, who shall serve as ex officio voting members.


Division 1, Title 4, Chapter 26, Part I, Section 26-16 of the Hawaii Revised Statues establishes the qualifications of the members of the executive board. There are no separate qualifications for the chairperson/commissioner:

The majority of the members of the board shall be from the agricultural community or the agricultural support sector.


The Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture is appointed by the Governor and concurrently serves as the director of the Department of Agriculture. [5]


According to Division 1, Title 4, Chapter 26, Part I, Section 26-34 of the Hawaii Revised Statues, vacancies are filled for the unexpired terms thereof, subject to Article V, Section 6 of the Hawaii Constitution. This means the governor appoints a new commissioner with the advice and consent of the senate. If the vacancy occurs when the senate is not in session, the governor can granting a commission which expires at the end of the next session of the senate, unless the appointment is confirmed during that session. Any person appointed to a temporary commission who is not confirmed by the senate is ineligible from being temporarily appointed again.


According to Division 1, Title 4, Chapter 26, Part I, Section 26-16 of the Hawaii Revised Statues, it is the the commissioner's duty to, "identify problems related to agriculture and the appropriate state agencies and departments needed to solve the problem."

Additionally, the Department of Agriculture is tasked with:

  • Promoting the conservation, development, and utilization of agricultural resources
  • Assisting farmers in Hawaii and others engaged in agriculture by research projects, dissemination of information, crop and livestock reporting service, market news service, and any other means of improving the well-being of those engaged in agriculture and increasing the productivity of the lands
  • Administering the programs relating to animal husbandry, entomology, farm credit, development and promotion of agricultural products and markets, and the establishment and enforcement of the rules on the grading and labeling of agricultural products
  • Administering the aquaculture program[6]
Click here to view larger-scale image of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Organizational Chart, as of October 21, 2013


There are 8 main divisions to Hawaii's Department of Agriculture:[7]

The Chairperson's office also includes a deputy director, a public information officer and a planner. The Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) also falls administratively under the Chairperson's Office.[8]

State budget

The Department of Agriculture's budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 was $42,101,000. [9]


In 2013, the Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture was paid an estimated $103,512 according to the Knowledge Center's Book of States 2013.[10]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

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Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture News Feed

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Contact information

Hawaii Department of Agriculture
1428 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814

See also

External links

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