USA JOBS – Agriculture Hawaii Federal Jobs

Contract Specialist
Agriculture, Rural Development
Department of Agriculture
Anywhere in the U.S. (remote job)
Starting at $98,496 Per Year (GS 13)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 10/03/2023 to 12/19/2023


Plant Protection Technician
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Department of Agriculture
Multiple Locations
Starting at $37,696 Per Year (GS 5)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 11/09/2023 to 11/16/2023


Soil Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Department of Agriculture
Multiple Locations
Starting at $37,696 Per Year (GS 5-9)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 11/08/2023 to 11/20/2023


Research Biologist (Computational) (Research Associate)
Agricultural Research Service
Department of Agriculture
Anywhere in the U.S. (remote job)
Forage Seed & Cereal Research Unit
Starting at $69,107 Per Year (GS 11)
2 yrs – Full-time
Open 07/17/2023 to 12/29/2023


Patent Advisor (General)
Agricultural Research Service
Department of Agriculture
Anywhere in the U.S. (remote job)
Starting at $98,496 Per Year (GS 13-14)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 11/07/2023 to 11/20/2023


Biological Science Technician (Natural Resources)
Forest Service
Department of Agriculture
Multiple Locations
Starting at $22.37 Per Hour (GS 7)
Temporary – Full-time
Open 10/26/2023 to 11/13/2023


Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command
Department of the Navy
Honolulu, Hawaii
Starting at $71,877 Per Year (GS 11-12)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 10/27/2023 to 11/27/2023


General Natural Resources Management and Biological Sciences
Department of Energy – Agency Wide
Department of Energy
Anywhere in the U.S. (remote job)
Department of Energy- Clean Energy Corps
Starting at $82,830 Per Year (GS 12-15)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 11/08/2023 to 02/15/2024


Supervisory Marine Biologist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Department of Commerce
Honolulu, Hawaii
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Starting at $142,397 Per Year (ZP 5)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 10/27/2023 to 11/13/2023


Loan Specialist
Department of Energy – Agency Wide
Department of Energy
Anywhere in the U.S. (remote job)
Department of Energy- Clean Energy Corps
Starting at $57,118 Per Year (GS 9-15)
Multiple Appointment Types – Full-time
Open 08/01/2023 to 11/14/2023


Customs and Border Protection Officer
Customs and Border Protection
Department of Homeland Security
CBPO Nationwide,
Starting at $37,696 Per Year (GS 5-7)
Permanent – May include rotating shifts, assignments, and overtime on a regular and recurring basis.
Open 11/01/2023 to 11/30/2023


Customs and Border Protection Officer
Customs and Border Protection
Department of Homeland Security
CBPO Nationwide,
Starting at $57,118 Per Year (GS 9)
Permanent – May include rotating shifts, assignments, and overtime on a regular and recurring basis.
Open 11/01/2023 to 11/30/2023


Forester – 12 Month Roster
Internal Revenue Service
Department of the Treasury
Multiple Locations
Starting at $98,496 Per Year (GS 13)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 05/17/2023 to 03/18/2024


Biological Scientist (Environmental)
Air Force Materiel Command
Department of the Air Force
Multiple Locations
Hiring organizations will vary
Starting at $46,696 Per Year (GS 7-9)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 10/01/2023 to 09/30/2024


Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command
Department of the Navy
Honolulu, Hawaii
Starting at $102,444 Per Year (GS 13)
Permanent – Full-time
Open 10/25/2023 to 11/24/2023

How To Thank Hawaii’s Immigrant Essential Workers

Civil Beat
By Bennette E. Misalucha, Henry J. C. Aquino

Give them access to state services, because far too many have not been supported as they should be.

Perhaps it took a pandemic, but Hawaii is only just starting to recognize the contributions of its essential immigrant workers: the people who care for us when we’re sick, protect our food supply and are once again the backbone of our hospitality workforce.

They make incredible sacrifices for our state, yet far too many have not been supported the way they should be.

Immigrants make up 18% of our population. But according to a new report by New American Economy, they account for nearly 40% of agricultural workers, 33% of tourism, entertainment and hospitality employees and nearly half of nursing assistants.

Despite the outsized roles they play, the government does little to empower them. A recent study assessing how well the 100 largest U.S. cities supported and integrated immigrants ranked Honolulu 95th.

We must treat immigrants better.

As co-chairs of the first joint Filipino Caucus in the Hawaii State Legislature, we’re calling for equal access and more state-funded support of immigrant services. If we want immigrants in Hawaii to become economically self-sufficient, live healthier lives and participate more fully in society, then we need to give them the necessary tools to do so.

That means better access to health care and employment services as well as language assistance. It also means legal guidance and citizenship classes so that the 40,000 immigrants in Hawaii who are eligible to naturalize can do so.

Supporting the immigrant workers who’ve kept our state moving forward during the pandemic is simply the right thing to do.

That’s why the House and Senate recently passed a resolution urging the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to study how public-private partnerships can help fill existing gaps. We are excited to read the findings before the next legislative session begins in January.

Empowering immigrants is also in Hawaii’s economic best interest. Research shows that naturalized immigrants are more likely to buy homes, earn higher salaries, pay more taxes and start businesses that create jobs. As a group, immigrants pay $1.55 billion annually in federal taxes and $874 million in state and local taxes — and contribute more than $17.5 billion to Hawaii’s GDP.

In 2018, they accounted for over a quarter of all entrepreneurs in the state, making them 24% more likely to be business owners than their U.S.-born counterparts. If this is what they’re able to accomplish without adequate resources, think of how they can succeed with them.

We must treat immigrants better.

We, as a Filipina immigrant and a son of Filipino immigrant parents, both know how determined newcomers are to build a better future for their families and communities. Despite enduring decades of terrible ethnic stereotypes about our accents, clothing and cuisine, we’ve come so far as a group — politically, economically and culturally.

Yet we still have work to do to improve our status and representation. In one welcome move, a group of high school students is leading the charge to put Filipino history on the state curriculum.

Ours is just one immigrant community that proves every day how much we belong here in Hawaii and what we can achieve. Imagine what a handful of well-conceived and well-placed services — whether it’s a session with a job counselor or bilingual assistance — can do for other immigrants.

Our state needs to step up. We are already known as the most diverse state in the nation. We owe it to ourselves — and our future — to also be the most inclusive.

R&D Grower

Sensei Ag Lanai City, HI

About Sensei Ag

Sensei Ag is a market – changing AgTech company aiming to solve global gaps and inconsistencies in nutrition, food safety, and food security through the transformative power of data. Guided by the capabilities and insights of our founders, technology entrepreneur Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus , we design, develop and deploy cutting-edge agricultural technologies to build a better, more stable food supply that is capable of feeding our entire world nutritionally-relevant, delicious, affordable meals.

Everything we do is evidence-led, radically transparent, always enriching.

Learn more from our website or by following us on LinkedIn . If you’d like to see what we are doing with our consumer-facing brand Sensei Farms , please check our Instagram !

Position Description

In order to implement the Sensei Ag mission, joining a team of CEA and plant biology experts, and reporting to the Global Agronomy & R&D Testing Lead the R&D Grower will oversee the day to day R&D growing operations for multiple crops in a greenhouse controlled environment. The successful candidate will supervise all aspects of growing fresh fruits and vegetables from planting, cultivation and harvesting of the crops to managing the implementation of technical procedures within the high-technology greenhouse environment. The supported research is an integral part of Sensei Ag’s business goals to become a leader in the Indoor Ag industry.

Bringing domain expertise in plant science and precision agriculture, the company’s core mission is to be a good farmer and grow a variety of sustainable, nourishing, accessible produce for all, pushing the limits to what food is currently available through CEA and establishing the Sensei Farms brand with customers and consumers. Environmental, climate, economic and market factors will inform the growing approach and subsequent R&D or utilization of the most appropriate growing structures, systems and technologies for the desired crops, location and commercial goals, commensurate with the corporate “buy, adapt, partner, or invent” hierarchy of technology sourcing strategies.

Sensei Ag’s unprecedented business and capital model, product suite, (consumer retail in-store units, seeds, software, robotics and indoor farms) and financing provide a unique environment and opportunity to shape the future of agriculture and tackle the CEA market holistically .

This individual has a minimum of 5 years of experience as a successful Grower in a high-tech greenhouse environment. A strong understanding of plant growth and physiology and interaction with varying environmental conditions is essential. They will be familiar with Priva, or similar advanced computer software, and advanced horticultural practices. The successful candidate will have strong communication skills in English, written and oral.


  • Work closely with R&D staff to understand and implement research protocols.
  • Provide insight and input for opportunities to improve plant performance in collaboration with R&D staff.
  • Maintain plant health by ensuring climate, irrigation, fertilization targets are met.
  • Design and implement an appropriate and compliant IPM program for R&D controlled environment space.
  • Oversee, train and assist research assistants and technicians who execute experimental protocols, including maintaining plant health and collecting phenotypic and environmental data.
  • Proactively ensure supply of seedlings and materials for experiments.
  • Write and update SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) as required and associated documentation
  • Ensure proper hygiene and safety protocols are followed by team.


  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture or a related discipline (plant sciences or horticulture preferred) and high-tech greenhouse growing experience is considered a strong asset.
  • 5+ years’ experience in protected agriculture, with a strong emphasis in precision horticulture
  • Experience in executing R&D experiments, collecting and entering data desired.
  • Ability to work with databases, entering data and creating reports desired.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit — someone who can simultaneously think big, but also grounded in the immediate, practical, get-stuff-done mindset of a startup.
  • Ability to be on call outside of standard work hours
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively in a dynamic team environment.
  • Effective interpersonal relations, exceptional communicator and ability to rapidly adapt and respond to changing priorities.
  • Maintain a can-do attitude while being transparent in all activities.

Preferred Skills, Abilities

  • Fluent communication in Spanish
  • Experience growing fruits and vegetables in greenhouse and vertical farming controlled environments such as lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and tropical fruits.
  • Experience growing fruit and nut trees preferred.
  • Familiarity with environmental optimization in controlled environment systems
  • Experience working in a research environment.

Traits We Value

Appreciation for transforming health and the future of food

Smart, not arrogant

Humble and hardworking

Entrepreneurial, not risk averse

Kind and genuine

Grit and lots of it

Compensation & Benefits

  • Competitive salary
  • Competitive medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401k and FSA plans
  • Cell phone bill reimbursement
  • Flexible PTO, vacation days and paid holidays

Farm workers still don’t get paid for overtime in most places: “This is the very definition of structural racism”

The Counter
by H. Claire Brown –

Experts say a policy change is both fair and feasible. When will it happen?

Last year, New York joined a handful of other states, including California, Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington, and Maryland in granting overtime pay to farm workers. Yet as the law took effect on January 1, 2020, there was already a hitch: Workers would only receive time-and-a-half pay after they had already worked a 60-hour week, 20 hours higher than the threshold that governs virtually all other categories of employees in the United States.

At the end of 2020, a state board convened to consider lowering the threshold to 40 hours. The three-person panel, comprised of a former union leader, the president of the pro-business New York Farm Bureau, and a member appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, decided to keep the threshold at 60 hours this year, citing pandemic-related uncertainty and rejecting a counter-proposal brought by former union leader Denis Hughes to gradually lower it over the next decade, according to Politico Pro. The board announced it will reconsider the threshold in November at the earliest.

“The wage board, in my opinion, was derelict in its duty to protect workers, Covid or not Covid,” said Lisa Zucker, legislative attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “No other businesses got to say, ‘oh my gosh, it’s Covid, I’m barely surviving—so please, New York, exclude me from paying overtime.’”

The wage board’s decision marks the most recent setback in a decades-long campaign by activists and labor advocates to secure basic protections for farm workers in the state, but it’s also indicative of a long-term dynamic nationwide: Farm workers were excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) back in 1938, the result of a political compromise to secure the votes of Southern Democrats who represented farmers who relied on cheap Black labor. Decades later, the vast majority of states have still not extended overtime pay to farm workers.

Now, for the first time in years, it seems possible that efforts to reverse the Depression-era carveout might gain political traction at the federal level. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has twice introduced legislation, dubbed the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, which would mandate overtime for farm workers and end a handful of additional minimum-wage and overtime exemptions. Her home state of California passed overtime pay for farm workers in 2016. Its plan involves gradually reducing the hourly threshold by five hours per year until it hits 40 hours in 2022. President-elect Joe Biden endorsed the policy during his campaign.

The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act established several of the workplace protections that continue to define work in the U.S. today: The minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, a ban on child labor. The bill faced intense opposition from Southern senators who had long relied on “a fully exploitable black population to provide cheap labor,” writes Juan F. Perea of Loyola University Chicago in his 2011 paper “Echoes of Slavery: Recognizing the Racist Origins of the Agricultural and Domestic Worker Exclusion from the National Labor Relations Act.” Arguing against the bill, Senator “Cotton” Ed Smith of South Carolina said that “any man on this floor who has sense enough to read the English language knows that the main object of this bill is, by human legislation, to overcome the splendid gifts of God to the South.”

In 1938, farm workers were excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act as a result of a political compromise, relying on cheap Black labor. Decades later, the majority of states have still not extended overtime pay to farm workers.

According to Perea, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt initially intended to include all workers in the bill. His administration only agreed to exclude farm workers and domestic workers from the legislation when it became clear that the bill would not pass without Southern support. “Congress acquiesced in, and in effect endorsed, Southern racism by making a Faustian pact to exclude black employees by proxy to enable the passage of New Deal legislation,” Perea wrote.

Migrant workers harvest Letttuce at Lakeside Organic Gardens in Watsonville, CA on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013.Bob Nichols/USDA
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has twice introduced legislation, dubbed the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, which would mandate overtime for farm workers and end a handful of additional minimum-wage and overtime exemptions.

“This is the very definition of structural racism,” Zucker said, adding that while the demographics of farm workers have changed since the 1930s, the labor dynamics have not. “Generations of farmers have built their business plan on the underpayment of workers,” she said. Farm workers were finally granted minimum wage protections in 1966, and domestic workers now receive both minimum wage and overtime pay, with some exceptions.

More than 80 years have elapsed since the passage of New Deal legislation, but many of the arguments made by opponents of the FLSA are relevant today. A quote in Perea’s paper from Fred Brenckman, a Washington Representative of the National Grange, neatly summarizes the crux of today’s most prevalent argument against extending labor protections to farm workers: “If farm labor is poorly paid in the United States today, then it can be said with emphasis that the farmer and his family are still more poorly paid.”

Farm groups have long claimed that paying overtime is not feasible. They say that farm work is not like an office job—it can require intense effort in key harvest months, and very little during the winter. Further, tight profit margins in the food industry make it difficult to absorb added labor costs. In New York, farm groups hoping to maintain the 60-hour minimum wage threshold have warned that paying overtime would lead to the replacement of apple orchards with easy-to-harvest crops and the replacement of dairy workers with robotic milking machines. Worst of all, they say, the new regulations would force them to raise prices, ceding a competitive edge to growers in other states.

Despite the blustery rhetoric, the numbers tell a different story. Dr. Jeanette Wicks-Lim, associate research professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, recently conducted a cost-benefit analysis of extending overtime pay to all farm workers in the state. She found that overtime pay would increase labor costs by just 5 percent, representing an increase of just 2 percent of overall farm revenue.

At the same time, the bump would mean a lot to farm workers, who would see a wage increase of about 17 percent in weeks where they work overtime. “Among farm worker households, their levels of poverty are about double the average worker in the state. So there’s clearly a need to raise the labor standards of these workers who are doing what we are all recognizing as ‘essential work,’” she says.

Furthermore, farm labor costs in Massachusetts are relatively high. Wicks-Lim says the impact on farmers’ bottom line would likely be even lower in other states.

“Among farm worker households, their levels of poverty are about double the average worker in the state. So there’s clearly a need to raise the labor standards of these workers who are doing what we are all recognizing as ‘essential work.’”

So: Can farmers afford to pay their workers more? Wicks-Lim cautions that the word “afford” will be hotly disputed. Yet she has also done research on the minimum wage, and she says businesses have found ways to absorb similar increases in labor costs by shifting wage distribution, increasing prices, and slightly reducing profits. “What I’ve seen in the policy debates is any labor cost increase is considered to be too big. And that’s just not true in the way businesses operate,” she says. “The question really is: ‘What is the actual cost increase relative to their revenue? What are the adjustment mechanisms available to them?’” Consumers may be more amenable to paying a few more cents for a bushel of apples knowing that the farmworkers who picked them are being paid overtime. Or they may not notice the change: Food prices have already increased by more than 3 percent since the start of the pandemic.

Overtime for farm workers might be fair and feasible, but it remains to be seen whether Congress will make it happen. With Democratic control of the Senate, legislation may have a greater chance of passing at the federal level than at any point in the past decade. Yet Zucker predicts it’ll be an uphill battle. “We see this microcosm of it in New York, that senators from big ag states worry that they won’t get re-elected. That’s exactly the pressure we faced when we were trying to pass the initial Farm Labor Practices Act [of New York] in 2019. Agricultural workers and allies and advocates worked on that bill for 20 years,” she said. Zucker sees a similar dynamic playing out nationwide, with farm-state Democrats potentially siding with Republicans to oppose an overtime expansion.

“Senators from all those big ag states will say, ‘I can’t vote for this, the Farm Bureau is going to come and—they’re going to kill me,” she said.

U.S. bans second Malaysian palm oil giant over forced labor


The U.S. said it will ban all shipments of palm oil from one of the world’s biggest producers after finding indicators of forced labor and other abuses on plantations that feed into the supply chains of some of America’s most famous food and cosmetic companies.

The order against Malaysian-owned Sime Darby Plantation Berhad and its local subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliates followed an intensive months-long investigation by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade, said Ana Hinojosa, one of the agency’s executive directors.

Hinojosa said the investigation “reasonably indicates” abuses against workers that included physical and sexual violence, restriction of movement, intimidation and threats, debt bondage, withholding of wages and excessive overtime. Some of the problems appeared to be systemic, occurring on numerous plantations, which stretch across wide swaths of the country, she said.

“Importers should know that there are reputational, financial and legal risks associated with importing goods made by forced labor into the United States,” Hinojosa said in a telephone press briefing.

The order was announced just three months after the federal government slapped the same ban on another Malaysian palm oil giant, FGV Holdings Berhad — the first palm oil company ever targeted by Customs over concerns about forced labor. The U.S. imported $410 million of crude palm oil from Malaysia in fiscal year 2020, representing a third of the total value shipped in.

The bans, triggered by petitions filed by non-profit groups and a law firm, came in the wake of an in-depth investigation by The Associated Press into labor abuses on plantations in Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia, which together produce about 85% of the $65 billion supply of the world’s most consumed vegetable oil. The AP interviewed more than 130 current and former workers from two dozen palm oil companies, including Sime Darby, for its investigation. Reporters found everything from rape and child labor to trafficking and outright slavery on plantations in both countries.

Sime Darby has palm oil plantations covering nearly 1.5 million acres, making it one of Malaysia’s largest producers. It supplies to some of the biggest names in the business, from Cargill to Nestle, Unilever and L’Óreal, according to the companies’ most recently published supplier and palm oil mill lists.

The company issued a press release today saying it has not yet received sufficient information about the allegations that triggered the ban, but was ready to work with the U.S. government and others to address their concerns. It said it is committed to combating forced labor and has implemented robust policies to protect worker’s rights.

“It would be in the interest of all parties, especially our foreign workforce and women employees, if these matters are addressed expeditiously,” the company said.

Palm oil can be found in roughly half the products on supermarket shelves and in most cosmetic brands.

Earlier this month, 25 Democratic lawmakers from the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee cited AP’s investigation in a letter calling for the government to come down harder on the industry in Malaysia and Indonesia, asking Customs and Border Protection if it had considered a blanket ban on imports from those countries.

“In our view, these odious labor practices and their pervasive impact across supply chains highlight the need for an aggressive and effective enforcement strategy,” the letter said.

Hinojosa said the agency’s decision to issue the ban should send an “unambiguous” message to the trade community.

“Consumers have a right to know where the palm oil is coming from and the conditions under which that palm oil is produced and what products that particular palm oil is going into,” she said.

Meanwhile, Duncan Jepson of the anti-trafficking group Liberty Shared, which submitted the petition leading to the Sime Darby ban, filed two additional complaints Wednesday — one to the UK’s Home Office, questioning the company’s disclosure about its protection of human rights under the country’s Modern Slavery Act, and the other to the Malaysian stock exchange, regarding the company’s stated commitments to sustainability. Both complaints questioned the accuracy of Sime Darby’s disclosures in light of the CPB’s findings.

Jepson said the U.S. ban also should be a red flag for Asian and Western financial institutions that have helped support the industry, saying ties to forced labor could have serious consequences for banks and lenders.

Under Wednesday’s order, palm oil products or derivatives traceable to Sime Darby will be detained at U.S. ports. Shipments can be exported if the company is unable to prove that the goods were not produced with forced labor.

Tensions rise as Latinos feel under siege in America’s deep south

The mobile home that Nancy Lugo and her two children live in might not seem like much to many people.

It sits off a dirt road, by a slow-moving creek, on the outskirts of the tiny Georgia town of Uvalda. It is surrounded by thick forest and fields full of the local speciality: Vidalia onions.

But for Lugo, 34, it is a symbol of a better life in America. Here in Georgia, far from her native Mexico, Lugo has a solid job, sends her kids to school and loves the rhythm of rural life. “It is peaceful. I am happy here,” she said.

The patch of land she bought for her trailer was vacant before she came. But she dug a well and sank septic tanks, carving a home from the wilderness in a grand American tradition. She got a job. She paid her taxes.

Now it is all under threat.

For Lugo is an illegal immigrant in the deep south. In the midst of general anti-immigrant sentiment, several southern states have passed strict anti-illegal immigrant laws that critics say raises the prospect of a new Jim Crow era – the time when segregation was law

Judge dismisses case against Aloun Farms owners

A federal judge granted a request by prosecutors this morning to dismiss the forced labor charges and related counts against brothers Alec and Mike Sou of Aloun Farms.

In the stunning announcement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Cushman told U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway that the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., and the local U.S. Attorneys Office were asking for the dismissal “in the interests of justice.”

Mollway granted the request to permanently dismiss the case.

“The case is closed,” she said.

Cushman said the decision to drop the case was made after discussions last night and this morning with the Justice Department’s civil rights division in Washington D.C.

“It’s the right thing to do,” U. S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni said.

The dismissal came before the start of what would have been the fourth day of a trial that was expected to span more than a month.

Asked how he felt, Alec Sou said, “Super-elated, man. It’s like 10 tons of watermelon lifted off my shoulder.”

The Sous’ lawyers were also elated.

“This confirms what we believed all along that this prosecution was baselesss and without merit,” Mike Sou’s attorney Thomas Otake said.

Key prosecution witness takes stand at Aloun Farms trial

A key prosecution witness began testifying today in the federal trial of brothers Alec and Mike Sou on charges of illegally bringing in 44 Thai nationals to work at the Sous’ Aloun Farms under forced labor conditions.

Matee Chowsanitphon, 57, a U. S. citizen for about 16 years who was born in Bangkok and is now a California resident, pleaded guilty to visa fraud in the case in 2009 as part of an agreement with the prosecution.

He said he was sentenced to six months of house arrest and five years of probation, but no jail time.

Chowsanitphon has been described by prosecutors as the middleman between a Thai recruiter of the laborers and Aloun Farms.