Hawaii became the first state to pass legislation providing tax breaks to farmers to offset the cost of getting certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Gov. David Ige has not yet decided whether he will sign it into law, a spokeswoman said.
“Hawaii is pretty well-known in agriculture policy as being in the forefront or looking at things differently,” said Doug Farquhar, director of agriculture for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The organic foods industry in the U.S. has grown to make up about 5 percent of the total food market, reaching $39.1 billion in sales in 2014, according to the Organic Trade Association.
Farmers have long been offered subsidies for crops like corn and soybeans, but the organic industry has not been widely targeted.