Unique opportunity for those interested, or already involved, in a related career
A unique opportunity is available for organic inspectors or those interested in working in the organic field — including county extension agents, regulatory agency staff, organic processors and industry activists — in order to better understand the organic inspection and certification process.
The county Department of Research and Development has provided a grant to enable the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) and Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA) to offer “Basic Organic Farm (Crop) Inspector Training,” to be held Jan. 25-29, and “Process and Handling Inspector Training,” to be held Feb. 1-5, in Hilo.
The registration deadline is Sunday, Dec. 12. Continue reading
The rain came down. The price went up, and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. finished the year with a much improved crop.
The final raw sugar shipment was loaded at Kahului Harbor’s Pier One on Wednesday and Thursday.
The harvest was just shy of 172,000 tons, much better than the 127,000 tons in 2009, but well short of the 200,000 tons the plantation can make in a good year.
In a telephone interview from New York on Thursday, HC&S General Manager Chris Benjamin said that although there is still “a ways to go,” the improved crop and better world prices take the immediate pressure off the plantation.
A year ago, after experiencing heavy losses attributed to a long drought, the directors of Alexander & Baldwin took a hard look at HC&S. The 37,000-acre plantation was the origin of the A&B conglomerate, but today it accounts for only about 7 percent of revenues.
The board approved continuation of the business only until the end of this year, pending improved results.
Financial results won’t be published until next year, but Benjamin said he believes that the board is already satisfied that the operation is on the right track.
At this week’s price of nearly 40 cents per pound of raw sugar (in New York), the crop would be worth more than $130 million, not counting molasses and electricity byproduct revenue, plus the premium for the part of the crop sold as specialty sugars. Continue reading
HONOLULU – Worried Hawaii farmers and ranchers told state lawmakers Thursday that breaking up Young Brothers Ltd.’s regulated interisland shipping monopoly could result in higher prices and less locally produced food.
They said the Public Utility Commission’s decision allowing Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines to carry cargo through the islands on a trial basis through 2013 could force rate increases and the elimination of unprofitable shipping routes.
“Loss of farmers and ranchers to increased transportation costs isn’t fear of the unknown,” said Warren Watanabe of the Maui County Farm Bureau. “It will happen.”
Young Brothers plans to appeal the regulatory decision to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, said Roy Catalani, the shipper’s vice president for strategic planning and government affairs. But the company may seek rate increases to sustain its business.
The Public Utilities Commission denied an initial appeal on the eve of Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.
“This has the potential of killing agriculture,” said Dean Okimoto, owner of Nalo Farms on Oahu. “We have to have agriculture on all islands. They have to be able to get their product to this island in an affordable fashion.” Continue reading
The beautiful yet isolated Hawaiian islands hold a bounty of biodiversity, but many of those unique species are rapidly disappearing. The fast growth of invasive species is pushing native Hawaiian species, many of which are found nowhere else on the globe, into extinction. In fact, hundreds of Hawaiian plant species, along with dozens of mammals and insects and other species, already appear on the U.S. endangered species list.
Much of the landscape of Hawaii, especially lowlands near agriculture and cities, has already been transformed, with native species nowhere to be found.
“Invasive species are so prevalent. You’re hand weeding, trying to eliminate them and aren’t able to keep up with them. It feels like you’re fighting a losing battle,” Susan Cordell, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, said recently in a prepared statement. “Restoring these lowland tropical forests to a historic native state is not financially or physically feasible.”
Invasive species are non-native species that disperse widely, rapidly, and at the expense of native species in an ecosystem. Not all non-native species become invasive, but those that do pose serious threats to all manner of plants, insects and animals.
So how can Hawaii preserve its biodiversity in the face of this ever-expanding enemy? A new idea is to try developing “hybrid ecosystems” – native and non-native species mixed in a way that benefits native biodiversity. Continue reading
Tired of Norfolk pines? A new variety of Hawaii-grown Christmas trees is available.
By Mariah Mellor
It took five years – from test pot to harvest – for a new variety of local Christmas trees to be available this holiday season from Helemano Farms.
The Leyland Cypress, a popular tree usually grown in the U.S. South, is fuller compared to Helemano’s Norfolk pines. “We planted 15 varieties of trees, about 100 to 400 of each variety, and only the Leyland survived,” says Aaron O’Brien, Helemano’s owner. Continue reading
Families who are waiting until the weekend to buy their Christmas trees may be in for a shock.
Across the board, retailers throughout Hilo are unable to keep up with demand for the big evergreens as the holiday spirit inspires shoppers to open their wallets.
“All over Hilo, there are less Christmas trees this year,” said Chris Behle of KTA Super Stores on Puainako Street. “They better get ’em now.”
“There are way less trees this year. People are asking for certain varieties, certain types of trees, and they aren’t there any more,” he said. “The public needs to know there’s no trees out there. They’re running out.”
Behle wouldn’t say how many trees KTA has ordered, but he confirmed that those on display at the front of the store are the last of their shipment. As of midday Tuesday, everything higher than 7 feet had sold out.
“I really felt in the recession, people would go for a reasonable-sized tree,” Behle said. Now, he feels that if a store ordered 200 10-footers, they’d be all gone.
“I don’t think you can find a big tree on this island,” Behle said.
Lesley Hill, the proprietor of Paradise Plants, said that interest is so strong that some people want to preorder their trees for Christmas 2011.
This year, big is back. Paradise Plants’ tallest trees were priced at a high of $245, but they were sold out in the first day and a half after going on sale. Like KTA, the store still carries trees for as low as $30, but almost all are between 4 and 7 feet. Continue reading
NORWALK, Ohio — An Ohio fire chief says a metal grain silo collapsed into a “sea of corn” up to 12 feet deep that pushed a nearby home off its foundation.
Chief Doug Coletta in Norwalk says no one was hurt in Tuesday’s collapse that spilled more than 100,000 bushels of corn.
He says corn that flowed like water knocked over a fire hydrant and created a “one-block mess” in the community about 50 miles southwest of Cleveland.
Neighbors described hearing an explosion, but Coletta says what they likely heard was the sound of the bin breaking apart.
The chief said Tuesday it was not clear what caused the silo to give way.
Afterward an attached but empty grain dryer, resembling a smaller bin, was leaning. Coletta said it would be dismantled.
WAILUKU – With mutual allegations of insincerity flying, the County Council Water Resources Committee on Tuesday decided to allow its resolution about exploring the possibility of acquiring the Piiholo South water well to expire.
However, committee Chairman Mike Victorino said he plans to revive the idea when the new council convenes in January.
Zachary Franks, co-managing director of Piiholo South, originally proposed selling his well to the Department of Water Supply, but he did not like the way the county responded. Tuesday, he asked the council to allow its resolution to expire.
“It was a complete failure,” he said.
He charged that Council Member Wayne Nishiki had introduced the resolution “with the primary, though unstated, purpose of derailing Kula Ridge. Prior to its introduction, Piiholo South, towards whom the resolution was putatively aimed, was not even notified by Mr. Nishiki of the resolution’s existence, let alone consulted with regard to its substance.”
When he did learn the framework of a proposal, he said it was “a disproportionate and unfair deal” that would have had Piiholo South “hand over” 95 percent of its well for free. That, he told, the committee “could never happen.”
Nishiki is not a member of the committee, but he usually attends its meetings. He was not present when Franks made his statement, but he came in later and accused Franks of not sincerely wanting to deal with the county. “As far as I am concerned, he can go back to the Mainland,” Nishiki said. Continue reading
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ordered the destruction of all genetically engineered sugar beets that seed companies planted in September.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco found that the U.S. Department of Agricultural improperly granted permission for the plantings without a detailed environmental review. White said his order will take effect Dec. 6 to give the companies time to appeal.
The companies couldn’t be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Several environmental groups filed a lawsuit in September alleging the USDA’s action violated an earlier decision by White.
The environmental groups say Monday’s ruling affects beets planted in Oregon and Arizona. The sugar beets are genetically engineered with a bacteria gene to withstand sprayings of a popular weed killer.
The Hawaii State Junior Golf Association is hosting 2010 Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Tournament of Champions on Maui this weekend.
The association is inviting all champions to compete in the end of the year tournament at Wailea Golf Club.
It’s the last opportunity players will have to earn points toward becoming “HSJGA Player of the Year” in each age division.
The association will also be recognizing the top boy and top girl golfers from each island, as measured by final HSJGA Point List.
These players will be eligible to participate in the 2011 Junior Golf Day scheduled to be held at the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course in January, just before the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.