Deadly pig virus jumps to Hawaii, animal feed tested

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Hawaii has identified its first outbreak of a deadly pig virus that emerged in the continental United States last year, confounding officials who are uncertain how the disease arrived over thousands of miles of ocean.

The state confirmed Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) on a farm on Oahu, the most populous Hawaiian island, on Nov. 20, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Farmers and the federal government have been working to contain PEDv since it was first detected in the United States in the spring of 2013. The virus has killed at least 8 million pigs, roughly 10 percent of the U.S. hog population. PEDv was previously found in parts of Asia and Europe. It is unknown how it came to the United States.

Hawaii had toughened import requirements for live pigs in July in a bid to prevent the spread of PEDv, banning infected hogs and requiring tests for PEDv prior to shipping.

State officials do not know how PEDv arrived on their shores and are testing animal feed from the infected farm to try to determine whether it may have transmitted the virus, acting State Veterinarian Isaac Maeda said in a telephone interview Monday.

“We live out in the ocean,” Maeda said. “A lot of things you see on the continental U.S., we don’t see out here.”

Chances of determining how PEDv arrived in Hawaii are “not looking very promising,” he added.

The outbreak occurred on a farm with about 150 pigs, and about 25 percent died, according to Hawaii’s agriculture department. Veterinarians sent samples from the farm to the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which confirmed the PEDv infection.

“It was surprising because it was a long distance from your traditional swine channels,” Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said about the outbreak.

The farm did not use feed containing porcine plasma, which has been suspected of spreading PEDv, Maeda said. Continue reading ‘Deadly pig virus jumps to Hawaii, animal feed tested’

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Pumpkin aplenty

KAPAA — If you want a pumpkin, Kauai has them. Grows them, even. Plenty, too, despite the whacky weather.

“People didn’t know we could grow pumpkins,” said Earl Kashiwagi, owner and operator of Esaki’s Produce. He delivered 4,500 pounds of pumpkins to the Kauai Fall Festival on Sunday and still has more.

Harry Yamamoto, a Kapahi resident, grew a crop of pumpkins this year. The seed companies, including Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta Seeds, also joined the lineup of those growing pumpkins for Halloween.

“We had people growing, everywhere,” Kashiwagi said, after learning of the seed companies’ intent. “But the weather came into play.”

It was hot. Then it rained.

“Pumpkins were exploding in the field,” Kashiwagi said. “Harry lost 75 percent of his crop in the field, and salvaged the rest of the crop by bringing it to us. But with all the water the pumpkins absorbed from the rain, we lost a lot of what came here.”

But there’s still no pumpkin shortage on Kauai.

“Everybody can get a pumpkin for Halloween at either very reasonable prices, or at one of the free events,” Kashiwagi said.

Peter Wiederoder, Kauai site leader for Dow, said they got some 90-day pumpkins to plant, but no one accounted for the Westside heat, which forced the pumpkins to mature in a little more than 60 days.

“We had to harvest early, and store them for Halloween,” he said. “We had about a thousand pumpkins in storage.”

Despite the challenges, both natural and manmade, Kashiwagi said the wholesale produce business is fun.

“We took a hit for Halloween,” Kashiwagi said. “But this is just some first-year challenges. People should be glad to know we can grow pumpkins here in Hawaii, and on Kauai. It’s all for the kids.”

Pumpkin aplenty – Thegardenisland.com: Local

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What You Need to Know About Hawai‘i Constitutional Amendment 2

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Next Tuesday, voters statewide will face five constitutional amendments, two of which relate to agriculture. Get to know what these amendment questions mean before heading to the polls so you can choose either Yes or No, since a blank vote counts as a No. Here’s what you need to know about Amendment 2, which would support the local food industry and agriculture.

What it says:

CON AMEND: Relating to Agricultural Enterprises

“Shall the State be authorized to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to assist agricultural enterprises on any type of land, rather than only important agricultural lands?”

What it means:

Special purpose revenue bonds are issued to allow private investors to give loans to borrowers—say, a farmer. The investor, not the state, is responsible for paying back the funds if the borrower falls short. These loans come with a lower interest rate, which benefits the borrower, and the interest is tax-free, which benefits the investor. The state does nothing other than facilitate, meaning no taxpayer money is spent, and the state’s credit is not affected if the borrower doesn’t make payments.

Right now, only 6 percent of Hawai‘i is designated as important agricultural lands. It’s a lengthy and complicated process to apply, says Brandon Lee of Ulupono Initiative, and the designation requires the lands must be used only as ag lands, never for any other purpose, such as development. Farmers on these lands are allowed to seek special purpose revenue bonds; though, according to Lee, none has been granted in the past four years.

“There is an allocation [of bonds],” Lee says. Because the state can’t allow the special bonds for every single project, there are designated categories, such as early childhood education and nonprofit healthcare facilities. “But, roughly, in four years, four or five projects have been approved as special purpose revenue bonds, and none of them under agriculture. Ag hasn’t gotten its fair share.”

Broadening the category from important agricultural lands to ag enterprises on any lands will increase the chances that farmers, ranchers and other ag businesses can get the money they need to update their operations, improve facilities and, ultimately, grow more food.

A Yes vote is a vote for local food

Continue reading ‘What You Need to Know About Hawai‘i Constitutional Amendment 2’

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Pumpkin Patch Festival returns to HPA | West Hawaii Today

The 23rd annual Pumpkin Patch Festival at Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s upper campus, sponsored by the school’s Ohana Association and Dr. Joan Greco, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

This year, the family festival in Waimea will feature a pumpkin patch with locally grown pumpkins and a new $20 wristband for keiki.

The wristband covers the climbing wall, horseback rides, laser tag, The Zoo Choo Train, inflatable bouncer and a new 28-foot high double lane slip and slide. This year’s musical lineup includes the Honokaa High School Jazz Band, Ms. B and The Boys, Mikiala Yardley and her trio. Food booths will be plentiful, offering hamburgers, hot dogs, and island favorites, such as lau lau, GJ Huli Chicken and foods with an Asian flair.

Again this year, the festival will host several nonprofit organizations.

The pumpkin patch is now a zero-waste event coordinated by Noah Dodd, HPA lower school garden coordinator and Sam Robinson. Both will be available to offer their expertise to make it an educational day.

For more information, contact Pamela Heitz at pamelaheitz@sbcglobal.net or 405-740-4937.

Pumpkin Patch Festival returns to HPA | West Hawaii Today

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Pick Your Own Hawai‘i-Grown Pumpkin at Aloun Farms

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Ahh, October—time for pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin mochi and Hawai‘i-grown pumpkins. Aloun Farms, which celebrates its 10th year of educational tours this year, hosts an average of 15,000 students at its annual pumpkin patch. Event coordinator Michael Moefu says the student tours run Tuesdays through Fridays. “They learn a little bit more about agriculture, not just pumpkins,” he says. “Corn, sunflowers, beans and over a dozen different varieties of pumpkins.”

This is also the 14th annual Pumpkin Festival at Aloun in Kapolei, which is open to the public the last three weekends of October from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 91-1440 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, 677-9516, alounfarms.com.

Pick Your Own Hawai‘i-Grown Pumpkin at Aloun Farms – Honolulu Magazine – October 2014 – Hawaii

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Kohala Pumpkin Patch event expands despite shortage

It’s been one tough year to raise pumpkins on Kohala Mountain.

The crop has been hit with the triple whammy of a mouse plague, cut worms and a tropical storm that stressed the plants so much they dropped their flowers.

None of this has deterred the Kohala Mountain Farm Pumpkin Patch from opening for its eighth year of Halloween pumpkins, food, rides and other attractions. While visitors to the farm — which commenced a fun-filled month Saturday — may see fewer pumpkins than in previous years, they’ll find expanded offerings in other areas.

“All we could do was laugh and carry on,” farm manager Benjie Kent said.

Visitors can hop on a wagon for a tour of the fields. The ride, pulled by draft horses and offered by Naalapa Stables, is new this year. The petting zoo has been expanded and there is a new miniature pony cart ride and cake walk. Musical offerings have been expanded as well, with the Pau Hana Pickers set to play several days and Beyond Paradise out of Hilo set to play Nov. 18.

Families can have their photos snapped by a sign painted with height markers. If they come back each year, they can take photos showing how their child is growing. And there are plenty of opportunities for snapping the obligatory shots of kids in wheelbarrows with pumpkins.

The farm recently added an observation platform made with lumber donated by HPM Buiding Supply. The platform gives a good view down the coast and into the corn maze so observers can help their friends find their way out — or confuse them further.

Central to this year’s story at the 23-acre educational farm on Kohala Mountain Road, however, is the shortage of fruit suitable to be carved into jack-o-lanterns. Continue reading ‘Kohala Pumpkin Patch event expands despite shortage’

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FIELD CROP PRODUCTION – PACIFIC REGION

P1050311SUGARCANE: The 2014 production of sugarcane in Hawaii is forecast at 1.43 million tons, up 2 percent from the previous year, but unchanged from the August forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 19.0 thousand acres, up 7 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 75.0 tons per acre.

The 2014 U.S. production of sugarcane for sugar and seed in 2014 is forecast at 29.4 million tons, down 4 percent from last year. Producers intend to harvest 883 thousand acres for sugar and seed during the 2014 crop year, down 28.3 thousand acres from last year. Expected yield for sugar and seed is forecast at 33.3 tons per acre, down 0.5 tons from 2013.

COTTON: California Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 215 thousand bales, down 35 percent from the 2013 crop. Harvested acreage is estimated at 59.0 thousand acres, down 35 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 1,749 pounds per acre, up 1 percent from last year.

California American Pima cotton production is forecast at 510 thousand bales, down 16 percent from the 2013 crop. Harvested acreage is forecast at 154 thousand acres, down 17 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 1,590 pounds per acre.

U.S. upland cotton production is forecast at 16.0 million 480-pound bales, up 30 percent from 2013. Harvested area is expected to total 9.69 million acres, down 4 percent from last month but up 32 percent from 2013.

The U.S. American Pima cotton production, forecast at 578 thousand bales, is down 9 percent from last year. Expected harvested area, at 189.4 thousand acres, is down 5 percent from 2013.

RICE: California’s 2014 rice crop forecast, at 36.8 million cwt., is down 23 percent from the previous year. The yield forecast is 8,600 pounds per acre, up 2 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year. Planted and harvested acreages are forecast at 433 thousand and 428 thousand acres, respectively. As of September 1, nearly all of the rice acres had headed.

The 2014 U.S. rice production is forecast at 218 million cwt, down 5 percent from August, but up 15 percent from last year. Area for harvest is expected to total 2.91 million acres, down 4 percent from August, but 18 percent higher than 2013. Based on conditions as of September 1, the average United States yield is forecast at a record high 7,501 pounds per acre, down 59 pounds from August and down 193 pounds from last year. Continue reading ‘FIELD CROP PRODUCTION – PACIFIC REGION’

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GLP Bulletin: ‘Kaua’i law restricting GMOs and pesticides illegal’ rules Hawaii Federal judge

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A federal judge struck down a new law regulating the use of pesticides and growth of genetically modified organisms by large-scale commercial agricultural companies on Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren decided Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491) is invalid and preempted by state law.

The law was scheduled to go into effect Aug. 16 but the court extended it to October. However, the judge’s ruling stops the county from enforcing the ordinance.

The law required seed companies to disclose the types of pesticides they use and establish buffer zones near dwellings, medical facilities, schools, parks, public roadways, shorelines and waterways.

GLP Bulletin: ‘Kaua’i law restricting GMOs and pesticides illegal’ rules Hawaii Federal judge | Genetic Literacy Project

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Big Isle papaya farmers’ loss estimated at $53M

Tropical Storm Iselle hit Hawaii island hard. It devastated papaya farms in Pahoa as the fruit-laden, top-heavy trees were no match for the storm’s intense winds.

HILO >> Hawaii island farmers are assessing damage to crops after Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall last weekend.

“It was pretty clear to us that the papaya farmers took the highest amount of damage,” Richard Ha, president of the Hamakua Springs Country Farms, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “Estimation of the sales lost, plus the startup, the bulldozing costs and growing up to that first year, when they’re ready to harvest again is about $53 million,” he said.

“People have been flying overhead to look over the damage with helicopters. The damage is devastating. Some folks have about 80 percent damage. Some folks’ farms had less, of course, but the damage is extremely high,” Ha said.

State and federal agriculture officials spoke with local farmers Monday, he said. Continue reading ‘Big Isle papaya farmers’ loss estimated at $53M’

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Hilo Muni Improvements Topic of Meeting

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Renovations to the Hilo Municipal Golf Course will be the subject of a public meeting later this month.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation said the meeting is being held to explain the project’s scope and gather public input.

It is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, at the Hawaii County Council chambers on Aupuni Street.

Aging buildings at the Hilo Muni suffer from termite damage and other problems. The back side of the restaurant is shown.

The proposed project includes replacement of the pro shop, restaurant and two on-course bathrooms, and reconstruction of four greens. It will also involve various maintenance and repair work, including replacement of water lines.

Jason Armstrong, spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said the work will also bring the golf course and adjacent driving range into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He said work on the design phase, which is expected to cost $1.5 million, has already begun.

Continue reading ‘Hilo Muni Improvements Topic of Meeting’

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Hilo Muni Improvements Topic of Meeting on July 22

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Renovations to the Hilo Municipal Golf Course will be the subject of a public meeting later this month.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation said the meeting is being held to explain the project’s scope and gather public input.

It is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, at the Hawaii County Council chambers on Aupuni Street.

Aging buildings at the Hilo Muni suffer from termite damage and other problems. The back side of the restaurant is shown.

The proposed project includes replacement of the pro shop, restaurant and two on-course bathrooms, and reconstruction of four greens. It will also involve various maintenance and repair work, including replacement of water lines.

Jason Armstrong, spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said the work will also bring the golf course and adjacent driving range into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He said work on the design phase, which is expected to cost $1.5 million, has already begun.

Armstrong said the department hopes to put the project out to bid early next year.

The renovations include replacement of two on-course restrooms. The one shown is located near Kawailani Street, near the tee area of the fourth hole.

He said the course, restaurant and pro shop will remain open during construction, which is expected to take 12 to 16 months to complete.

Pedestrian, vehicle and golf-cart traffic will likely be re-routed intermittently during construction, which will also require temporary modifications to play on the course.

At 165 acres, the Hilo Muni is the county’s largest developed recreational site. The course typically hosts about 80,000 rounds a year.

The county’s only golf course averages more than 200 rounds a day.

Hilo Muni Improvements Topic of Meeting on July 22 | Big Island Now

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This Thursday-Sunday, July 3-6: Makawo Rodeo & Paniolo Parade

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Saddle up for the 59th Annual Makawao Rodeo (July 3-6) and the 49th Annual Makawao Paniolo Parade (July 5). The Rodeo never ceases to entertain with four full days of qualifying rounds, bull-riding, team-roping, mugging, barrel racing and more. Friday’s Bull Bash will amp the crowd for Saturday’s Colorful Hawaiian Style Parade (9am-11pm), complete with rodeo royalty, pa’u riders, classic cars, cowboys, cowgirls and local celebrities. Park at the Oskie Rice Arena Rodeo Grounds and take the free shuttle to the parade (7-9am) and then back to the rodeo grounds(11:30am). Rodeo: $15 Adults, $10 Seniors, Students, $5 Kids. Oskie Rice Arena (Olinda Rd., Makawao), mauimapp.com/rodeo.htm

This Thursday-Sunday, July 3-6: Makawo Rodeo & Paniolo Parade | mauivents.com

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Amira’s Prolific Pumpkins

Although not certified organic, Olana Farm grows produce on 2.25-acres using strictly organic methods.

What’s growing now

Arugula, avocado, basil (Thai, Italian, lemon), bak choy, beets, carrots, celery, chard (Swiss, rainbow), chives, cilantro, collards, fennel, green onions, ginger, guava, kale (curly, lacinato, red Russian, red curly), kaffir (leaves, fruit), mint, mustard greens (red, green), oregano, pak choi, papaya (green sunrise), pak choi (baby green, baby purple), parsley (Italian, curly), passionfruit, pea shoots, pineapple (white), pumpkin, rosemary, tangelo, thyme, tomatoes (cherry red, yellow pear), turmeric, turnips (white, red), yacón.

Amira Pumpkin 

“This variety was selected from seeds that were saved because they are adapted to Hawaii and resist powdery mildew and being stung by the fruit fly,” says Tom O’Connor. “We liken it to a tender butternut squash, but it has thin skin and sweet, tender flesh. We named it after my wife, Amira.”

Amira pumpkins have a deep gold, creamy interior that’s sweet and full of seeds, which can be planted in home gardens. You don’t need to peel them because the skin is smooth and tender enough to eat.

Pumpkins are a prolific crop and a medium sized one can make up to eight meals. They are considered a winter squash because they are harvested in late summer and early fall, and keep throughout the winter.

Season

Amira pumpkins take up to three months to go from seed to table. On Kauai, they are available from spring through summer and possibly into fall.

What to look for

Select pumpkins that are hard, heavy and free of soft spots. External skin blemishes do not compromise the integrity of the flesh. Stems should be attached, otherwise bacteria gets inside and spoils the flesh.

Storage

Store on a counter out of direct sunlight. O’Connor says pumpkins stored this way will keep for a few weeks.

Tip

Seeds make an excellent snack food. Scoop out the pulp and seeds and spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Lightly roast at 160 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Roasting for a relatively short time at a low temperature minimizes damage to healthy oils. 

Preparation

Purchasing pumpkins may seem expensive, but they are worth every penny. I used my pumpkin in four meals: the pilaf below, a kale and caramelized onion tart, ravioli (made with wonton wrappers) and a Thai coconut soup. Continue reading ‘Amira’s Prolific Pumpkins’

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GMO ban, research at odds?

Hawaii County set itself apart from much of the rest of the state in December by effectively banning the large biotech seed companies that have become a major, though controversial, part of Hawaii agriculture.

But with a ban also on the outdoor testing of transgenic crops, can the Big Island, home to genetically modified papaya, still be a place for genetic research?

Six months later, the answer might be clearly no for some researchers while a bit hazy for others.

Because of the law, Russell Nagata, Hawaii County administrator for the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, said his staff will not pursue genetic engineering.

“It will prevent us from using biotech as a solution” to agricultural issues, he said following a panel discussion on genetic modification Thursday evening.

“It forces us to look at it in a different manner. It may be slow, it may not be as effective.”

Scientists interviewed say growing modified crops, that are still under development, in open fields is necessary to test their effectiveness.

While they say they take steps to prevent the spread of genes, including the removal of plants before flowering, critics of genetic modification believe outdoor testing presents too much risk. They also question the approval process.

“We are looking at the precautionary principle,” said Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille during the panel discussion sponsored by the Hilo chapter of the American Association of University Women. Wille introduced the bill restricting the use of transgenic crops.

Under the county’s law, testing can occur but it must be done indoors.

At the time the bill was adopted, Nagata said his office was not conducting any genetic research.

For those with projects already in progress, the law might provide less certainty.

Michael Shintaku, a plant pathologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said he is continuing his research on creating lettuce resistant to the tomato spotted wilt virus but is unsure of whether he can get it approved with the current restrictions. Continue reading ‘GMO ban, research at odds?’

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MALP Lawn and Garden Fair–Saturday, June 14th, 10am-3pm, Maui Mall

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FREE event Featuring:

  • Educational talks:  Ian Cole – Breadfruit Institute;  Gerry Ross – Kupa’a Farms;  James Simpliciano – Simpli-Fresh Produce, LLC,  Emil Lynch – Maui’s Best Honey, and  Melanie King – Waste Not Want Not
  • More than 20 vendors selling plants and gardening material
  • Book sale featuring gardening and plant books
  • Door prizes
  • Free soil pH testing – Bring 2c soil sample selected from various areas across property
  • Free plant problem diagnosis – Bring a plant sample – bagged
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Cowboy Fun: Rodeos and Polo


Paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) show off their skills at three major annual events: the Piiholo Cowboy Classic in September; the Oskie Rice Memorial Rodeo in December; and Maui’s biggest event, the 4th of July Rodeo, which comes with a full parade in Makawao town and festivities that last for days.

Polo is popular with the Upcountry paniolos. From April through June, Haleakala Ranch hosts “indoor” or arena contests on a field flanked by side boards. The field is on Route 377, 1 mile from Route 37. During the “outdoor” polo season, September to mid-November, matches are held at Olinda Field, 1 mile above Makawao on Olinda Road. There’s a $5 admission for most games, which start at 1:30 pm on Sunday.

Manduke Baldwin Memorial Tournament. Held over Memorial Day weekend, the Manduke Baldwin Memorial Tournament is a popular two-day polo event. It draws challengers from Argentina, England, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. 808/877–7744. www.mauipoloclub.com.

Cowboy Fun: Rodeos and Polo – Maui | Fodor’s

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