High-tech detection determines pineapple harvest needs

UH News

In a new study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Small Business Innovation Research program, researchers in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, IntelinAir, Inc. and Columbia University are investigating whether remote sensing and computer vision can help pineapple growers carry out regular inspection of the field and automated counting of flower intensity.

The natural flowering of pineapple was the basis of the industry up until the 1960s. Now, pineapple fields are forced in blocks to flower, with a chemical that releases ethylene and induces flowering, making the fruit available year-round. Since pineapple is hand-harvested, a grower’s ability to harvest all of the fruit of a field in a single pass is critical to reduce field losses, costs, and waste, and to maximize efficiency.

“Our work used deep learning-based density-estimation approaches to count the number of flowering pineapple plants in a field block,” said Robert Paull of the Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. “This enables growers to optimize their planning and management practices for getting optimum fruit harvest.”

Paull explained that drones are being used worldwide to monitor crop growth, disease and weeds, and to apply fertilizer and crop protection products. The tool allows growers to be more flexible, efficient and highly targeted, with lower costs and input application. They are also able to service hard-to-reach areas and where weather prevents access by heavy equipment.

“New technology and management strategies are critical for the economic success of farming in Hawaiʻi,” added Paull. “Drones are used widely, though less effort has been devoted to tropical agriculture systems. In the tropics, drones offer the ability to enhance precision agriculture, improve crop management, and reduce environmental impacts and costs.”

The full study appears in a recent edition of Frontiers in Plant Science.

This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015-2025 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

Additional Commodities Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Farm Service Newsletter

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data. Producers will be able to submit applications that include these commodities on Monday, July 13, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting through Aug. 28, 2020, applications for CFAP, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks.

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020.

Changes to CFAP include:

Adding the following commodities: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
Expanding for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.
Determining that peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for payment under the CARES Act sales loss category.
Correcting payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papaya, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.
Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

Producers have several options for applying to the CFAP program:

Using an online portal, accessible at gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. New commodities will be available in the system on July 13, 2020.
Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center. An updated version with the new commodities will be available on the website on July 13, 2020.
Downloading the AD-3114 application form from gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.
USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.

Getting Help from FSA

New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.

Pineapple perseveres on small farms on the Valley Isle

By Andrew Gomes

It’s easy to see Hawaii’s connection to pineapple farming at Maui’s main airport, where plush toys, picture frames, candy and other items made in the oblong fruit’s image are for sale along with three-packs of the real thing for $29.95. At the Maui Pineapple Store in Lahaina, there’s also pineapple hot sauce and pineapple spice soap.

What’s less apparent, though, is how the local pineapple industry sidestepped a shutdown trend over the last four decades to outlast sugar cane, the longtime king crop of Hawaii agriculture.

Three years after the last sugar plantation in the state disappeared, two major pineapple farms stemming from the bygone plantation era are still running.

One, in Haliimaile, defied a shutdown twice in the last decade and has been supported for the last 18 months by a company making vodka, gin and other spirits from pineapple juice.

The other, on Oahu, is still run by what used to be one of Hawaii’s four dominant pineapple plantation operators, though on a smaller scale.

These two companies, Maui Gold Pineapple Co. and Dole Food Co., generally supply 100% of the statewide market for fresh pineapple, which also includes contributions from much smaller local farms.

“If Dole does well, we do well. If we do well, Dole does well,” said Rodrigo “Rudy” Balala, Maui Gold general manager.

Of the two companies, Maui Gold has had the more unsettling ride — so much so that many people on Maui were unaware recently that the company was still around, according to farm manager Kary Hisashima.

“People just figured we went out of business,” he said.

A lot of Hawaii pineapple producers did meet that fate, largely since the 1960s under pressure from lower-cost plantations in Asia and Central America often run by the same companies that dominated pineapple farming in Hawaii.

Commercial pineapple farming in Hawaii dates back to the late 1880s and initially produced fruit for canning. Production peaked in 1955 with 1.5 million tons of fruit grown on 76,700 acres mainly on Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

In the early 1960s, Hawaii pineapple growers supplied more than 80% of the world market for canned pineapple. But a decline took hold by 1966, and a later shift to growing sweeter and less acidic varieties for fresh fruit sales didn’t stop most of the demise.

Kauai lost its last plantation, the 2,200-acre Hawaiian Fruit Packers farm, in 1973.

On Molokai, Dole pulled the plug in 1975 on a 12,500-acre farm it acquired five years earlier from Libby McNeill & Libby, while Del Monte’s last harvest on a portion of what had been a 6,000-acre farm there was in 1988.

Lanai, long nicknamed the Pineapple Isle, was once the world’s largest pineapple plantation at roughly 15,000 acres. But that Dole operation ceased in 1992.

Oahu and Maui outlasted other islands for pineapple production, but the industry has come close to extinction on these islands as well.

In 2006 Del Monte Fresh Produce quit the business on Oahu. That left just two major pineapple growers in Hawaii: Dole on Oahu and Maui Pineapple Co.

Dole’s Oahu pineapple plantation once covered 12,500 acres in Wahiawa, but by the mid-1970s was down to 4,500 acres as the company shifted from canning to fresh fruit sales.

After further shrinking its operation to 2,700 acres around 2006, California-based Dole is back up to 4,100 acres on Oahu, where it produces pineapple mainly for the local market but also Western states.

Dole spokesman Bill Goldfield said the farm maintains some profitability but also helps support the Dole Plantation visitor attraction in Wahiawa and holds tremendous value as an “iconic product in Hawaii that so much of the company’s image is founded upon.”

Gold rush saves planters

On Maui, sustaining that iconic product has teetered on the brink twice.

Maui Pineapple Co., a subsidiary of Maui Land & Pineapple Co., stayed in business for 100 years in part by branching into resort and other urban development on much of what had been 12,000 acres of pineapple fields largely around Kapalua in West Maui. In 2009 the company announced plans to shut down its last roughly 3,000 acres of pineapple operations in Haliimaile on the lower slopes of Haleakala, after closing its Kahului cannery in 2007.

That decision stood to wipe out pineapple’s heritage on another island. The move also hurt suppliers and vendors, including M. Yamamura & Sons, a nearly 600-acre pineapple farm in Haiku which was started by Hisashima’s grandfather and sold its crop to Maui Pine.

However, a handful of company veterans including Balala and former Maui Pine President Doug Schenk preserved much of the operation by forming Haliimaile Pineapple Co., doing business as Maui Gold Pineapple.

Maui Gold, financed by Ulupalakua Ranch owner Pardee Erdman, leased about 1,000 acres and purchased equipment from Maui Pine to continue pineapple farming that preserved 66 of the farm’s 206 jobs.

Balala, who was Maui Pine’s director of fresh and harvesting operations, recalled that banks declined to finance what he jokes was a “dumb” idea to attempt to salvage a farm that was losing money amid a recession.

“We were underfunded going into it, but we had to take that chance to keep it going,” he said.

Maui Gold inherited some pineapple in the fields to start with and aimed to plant 120 to 150 acres a year. Each acre can support about 30,000 plants, which are harvested three times over three years before replanting after a field rests for a year. New plants take about 18 months to produce fruit.

Planters including 63-year-old Arnold Ancheta, a veteran with 27 years of experience going back to Maui Pine, work two days a week and can plant 9,000 stalks a day.

“It’s good,” Ancheta said of the work that pays $30 a hour plus a bonus after the first 6,000 stalks.

In good spirits

After about five years Maui Gold had expanded to about 480 acres planted and developed a good revenue stream with sales of fresh whole fruit, fresh cut fruit and juice. Fresh fruit customers included Maui grocery stores, Costco, other retailers, consumers online and even one grocer in Oregon.

Juice buyers include Maui Brewing Co., MauiWine, Ola Brew Co. on Hawaii island and Haliimaile Distilling Co.

Other income streams included farm tours and supplying companies making value-added products including syrups and jams.

But then in 2015 the farm got hit with extremely heavy rain that damaged the crop and created a dire situation. Hisashima said lost sales constricted revenue needed to pay for planting, fertilizer and other things, which reduced production and quality. That, in turn, further hurt sales and led to the company’s biggest customer, Costco, dropping Maui Gold.

In essence, a slow death spiral was cutting Maui Gold to the core.

With the farm on the brink of another shutdown, Maui Gold sought financial help from the owner of the business making spirits from Maui Gold pineapple juice next door in a former Maui Pine truck maintenance building.

California-based LeVecke Corp., a 70-year-old bottler of spirits which created PAU Maui Vodka in 2006, followed by Haliimaile Distilling in 2010, bought Maui Gold in March 2018.

Joe LeVecke, president of the family firm started by his great-grandfather, said the acquisition made good business sense but also had a bigger emotional and cultural legacy benefit by continuing something sustained by generations of Hawaii residents, including kids picking pineapples during the summer.

“It’s a responsibility,” he said. “We’re stewards of pineapple on the island for this moment in time.”

Over the past 18 months, Maui Gold reinvested in planting, improved farm practices that now include using biodegradable mulch film, regained Costco as a customer, reduced its lease to 800 acres and downsized its workforce to 52 through efficiencies.

LeVecke said Maui Gold this year will be profitable, and he is looking ahead at expansion if the company can obtain a long-term lease for perhaps 1,300 to 1,500 acres.

“The future can be really, really bright,” he said. “We’d love to grow the farm.”

Balala, who is 56 and worked in only one industry for the past 41 years, is appreciative of LeVecke’s help.

“It’s a great marriage,” Balala said. “We got to make sure that this thing continues. It’s an integral part of Hawaii’s agriculture community. You don’t want to see something that’s been growing in Hawaii for so long finally disappear.”

History of Hawaii’s pineapple industry

1813: Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, Spanish adviser to King Kamehameha I, introduces pineapple, or hala kahiki, to Hawaii.

1885: English horticulturalist Capt. John Kidwell, recognized as the pioneer of Hawaii’s pineapple industry, pursues crop development trials in Manoa.

1890: Kidwell plants Smooth Cayenne variety, ideal for canning, near Pearl Harbor.

1900: “California homesteader” Alfred W. Eames starts selling fresh pineapple at what would become California Packing Corp. and Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawaii) Inc.

1901: Businessman and future “Pineapple King” James Drummond Dole incorporates Hawaiian Pineapple Co. and begins growing fruit on 60 acres in Wahiawa.

1903: Maui’s missionary Baldwin family establishes a firm that becomes Maui Pineapple Co.

1913: Henry Ginaca creates machine to peel and core pineapples for Dole.

1922: Dole buys nearly all of Lanai to establish the world’s largest pineapple plantation, covering about 15,000 acres.

1930: Eight canneries pack 9 million cases of canned pineapple.

1955: Pineapple production peaks at 76,700 acres planted and 1.5 million tons of harvested fruit. Sales total about $110 million.

Early 1960s: Hawaii pineapple growers supply more than 80% of the world’s canned pineapple.

1966: Pineapple production is firmly in decline.

1973: Last pineapple plantation on Kauai closes.

1975: Dole Food Co., successor to Hawaiian Pineapple Co., cuts size of the once 12,500-acre Wahiawa plantation to 4,500 acres from 9,000 acres.

1976: Del Monte begins national distribution of fresh Hawaii pineapples.

1983: Del Monte ceases Hawaii canning operations.

1988: Last pineapple plantation on Molokai closes.

1989: Del Monte introduces fresh-cut chilled Hawaii pineapple, the first nationally distributed, fresh-cut, refrigerated fruit item.

1992: Dole closes Iwilei cannery and tears down landmark pineapple water tower a year later.

1993: Dole ceases pineapple production on Lanai.

1997: Del Monte unveils a sweeter premium pineapple, Del Monte Gold, which goes on to compete with sweet varieties sold fresh by Maui Pine and Dole.

1998: Maui Pine announces plans to extend operations to Indonesia and Central America.

2004: Del Monte reduces Oahu pineapple farming to 4,000 acres from 6,000.

2006: Del Monte ceases all Hawaii pineapple operations. Dole’s Oahu farm shrinks to 2,700 acres.

2007: Maui Pine, Hawaii’s last pineapple canner, stops canning and shifts all production to fresh fruit.

2009: Maui Pine, which once farmed 12,000 acres, quits farming its last 3,000 acres.

2010: Haliimaile Pineapple Co. formed to continue farming some Maui Pine land.

2015: Haliimaile Pineapple falters amid cash crunch after bad weather.

2017: Dole reports increase in Oahu farm size to 4,100 acres.

2018: LeVecke Corp. buys Haliimaile Pineapple to keep it in business.

2019: LeVecke deems Haliimaile Pineapple turnaround a success and contemplates expansion.

With pineapple and sugar production gone, Hawaii weighs its agricultural future

Washington Post
By Brittany Lyte –

Tens of thousands of abandoned acres of farmland lie fallow on this island, cemeteries of Hawaii’s defunct plantation era, which met its end last year when the state’s last remaining sugar grower shut down an operation that had run for 146 years.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.’s sprawling sugar cane fields used to provide visitors to Maui a rolling green blanket as they arrived at the airport, but they are newly stagnant, joining other growers in a long decline. Facing competition from cheap foreign labor, a shortage of farmworkers and some of the nation’s highest land costs, the sugar and pineapple plantations that used to be the state’s lifeblood are not redeploying into active agriculture, raising questions about the industry’s future here.

“Pineapple is lost, sugar is lost, and we now have one sole industry, which is a very dangerous position to be in,” said Maui County Councilman Alika Atay. “We have put all our eggs into one basket, and that is tourism. But not everybody who lives on this island wants to work in the hotel industry, and it’s almost impossible to feed a family here working as a farmer. We are now seeing drastic displacement of young people leaving Maui because of a lack of economic opportunity.”

The closure of Maui’s last sugar producer marked a pivotal moment in Hawaii’s agricultural production. Since 1980, Hawaii’s total land use for agricultural production has shrunk by about 68 percent, according to data from the University of Hawaii.

Sugar had, at one point, been Hawaii’s top crop. Now the corn seed industry is the state’s dominant agricultural land user, followed by commercial forestry and macadamia nuts. But none of those products, not even when combined, come anywhere close to filling the economic void created by the loss of sugar and pineapple.

The state’s Agriculture Department is working on the issue with a depleted staff — 122 of its 360 positions are vacant, including the entire branch responsible for market analysis and tracking the state’s trends in food imports and production. The agency is narrowing its focus to court outside capital for investments in Hawaii food production and is studying the possibility of allowing farmers to inhabit small family homes alongside their crop beds. Tenant farming is now restricted on state agriculture land.

“There are tens of thousands of acres of good ag land, at least, currently sitting fallow in Hawaii, where we have some of the most expensive land in the world,” said Department of Agriculture Director Scott Enright. “At the same time, we’ve got a group of farmers who are aging out of the business. The next generation is coming in and finding if you’re going to try and start up a farm when you’re a 20-something with no track record, the banks aren’t going to lend to you. That’s a problem for us.”

The sugar industry, which helped usher Hawaii into statehood, steered the state’s politics and economy for more than a century. It helped build company towns inhabited by multiethnic field laborers from Asia and Europe.

With statehood came U.S. labor laws, inspiring Hawaii’s biggest sugar and pineapple producers to embrace cheaper foreign labor. As monocrop agriculture declined, the state put its economic faith in tourism, which accelerated as jet plane travel became faster and more affordable. Plantation companies either vanished or transitioned into land-development firms.

Some swaths of farmland have been sold off and developed into commercial or residential real estate, inspiring fears that Hawaii’s agrarian past could one day be lost to a more citified future.

“We have and we will continue to lose ag land to urban development,” Enright said.

HC&S is a division of Alexander & Baldwin, one of Hawaii’s largest commercial real estate holders.

The passage of the plantation heyday has been slow but impactful. In 1980, Hawaii hosted 14 sugar and four pineapple plantations that farmed more than 300,000 acres. In 2017, these two crops account for less than 5,000 acres. Once the largest pineapple plantation in the world, the island of Lanai’s former crop beds are now parched and deserted.

Hawaii spends as much as $3 billion a year to import 90 percent of its food, and residents routinely pay some of the highest prices in the nation for staples such as eggs and milk. Even the grain that feeds the cows on the islands’ two dairy farms is shipped in. Should a natural disaster affect the ability for cargo ships to arrive, the state’s 1.4 million residents and nearly 9 million annual visitors could be vulnerable to crippling food shortages.

The shaky state of food security in the world’s most isolated group of islands has prompted Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) to set a deadline of 2030 to double local agriculture production, a goal that some experts decry as unrealistic because Hawaii does not consistently track agricultural data about crop yields.

On an island chain that once was completely self-sufficient — before the arrival of Westerners in the late 1700s, indigenous Hawaiians thrived 2,500 miles from the nearest continent using sustainable farming and fishing methods — many believe a resurgence of agriculture is possible.

“There’s no reason why we should go to a grocery store and see a banana from Ecuador or Mexico. We can grow banana here,” Atay said. “Why do we go to the store and see mango from Chile, not mango from Maui, when Maui grows some of the sweetest-tasting mango in the world? Because in the last 200 years we never had the land and the water available — until now.”

HC&S has so far deployed 4,500 of its 36,000 farmland acres. A new grass-fed cattle operation aims to expand local beef production through a 300-calf management partnership with Maui Cattle Company. More than 95 percent of the beef consumed in Hawaii has been shipped in from the U.S. mainland. On Maui, HC&S hopes to cut that number to as low as 80 percent.

In addition to raising cattle, HC&S has dedicated 1,500 acres to grow sweet potato and crops that help produce energy. Hawaii’s eight main islands have the highest electricity prices in the nation, but a 250-acre orchard of pongamia trees, which produce biofuels, could help wean the state off its fossil fuel dependence, experts say.

Another 800 acres are being considered for an agricultural park for small-scale, local farmers.

“We’ve been talking about diversified agriculture and energy for 10 years, but nobody has found the magic bullet,” said Rick Volner, the former HC&S plantation manager who now oversees the company’s fledgling diversified agriculture program. “The hope was that we could launch right into it. Instead we’re trying to grow different crops to try and see what works.”

Elsewhere on the island, the shift away from agriculture is providing some immediate relief. Water diversions from hundreds of streams long fed the island’s sugar cane at the expense of the wetland taro crop cultivated by indigenous Hawaiians in rural east Maui. A storm of lawsuits over water rights coupled with the sugar industry’s gradual scale-back has led to some restoration of the natural water flow.

With water returned to the remote Wailua Nui Valley, a new program at a nearby public school is reintroducing local families to the culturally important practice of taro farming. Last year, more than 150 people in Maui’s Hana community pounded poi, the starchy Hawaiian staple food, for the first time in their lives.

“My grandchildren used to tell me, ‘Papa, what happened to the water?'” said sixth-generation taro farmer Edward Wendt. “King Sugar — that’s where our water went. Now that it’s flowing again, I must show and teach the younger generation as much as I can for as long as I can.”

Elsewhere on Maui, the Colorado-based land development firm Bio-Logical Capital manages an oceanfront cattle ranch and diversified organic fruit and vegetable farm on 3,600 acres formerly cultivated for sugar. The company’s goal is to invent a sustainable agricultural system that enriches the land, provides healthy, fresh food for the local population and lends itself to be duplicated as a model food-production system in communities across the globe.

“The land in Maui that was in sugar is some of the best ag land in the world,” said Bio-Logical CEO Grant McCargo. “But politically, how do you put that land back to good use?”

McCargo noted that the challenge for publicly traded companies is to manage risk with shareholder value.

“This really is a public policy question,” he said. “After all, we wouldn’t still be farming corn in this country if it weren’t for subsidies from the government.”

ML&P reports doubts about its ability to continue

KAPALUA – Financial challenges facing Maui Land & Pineapple Co. are raising a “substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the company reports in its latest filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Among a number of disclosures in the filing, a group of lenders has declared that a $280.5 million loan for the Kapalua Bay Holdings’ construction of the The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, Kapalua Bay is in default. ML&P has invested more than $50 million in cash and $25 million in land for the development project and has 51 percent ownership in the Bay Holdings company.

“The company’s cash outlook for the next 12 months and its ability to continue to meet its financial covenants is highly dependent on selling certain real estate assets in a difficult market,” the filing says. “If the company is unable to meet its financial covenants resulting in the borrowings becoming immediately due, the company would not have sufficient liquidity to repay such outstanding borrowings.”

While the company’s future appears ominous in its SEC filing, Tim Esaki, the company’s financial officer, said Friday that company officials “remain optimistic.”

Farmers threaten to block highway | Bangkok Post: news

More than 1,500 pineapple growers on Friday gathered in front of the Farmer Market Centre on Petchakasem highway at Ban Auo Noi in Prachuab Khiri Khan to wait for outcome of the meeting of National Pineapple Committee.

The pineapple farmers came from Prachuab Khiri Khan, Rayong, Chonburi, Uthai Thani, Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi. They brought with them about 34 pickup trucks fully loaded with pineapples.

The pineapple farmers said the rally today was aimed at calling for the government to help settle the problem of low pineapple price, now only three baht a kilogramme.

The farmers said they would not rally at the provincial city hall but will gather at the centre until the outcome of the pineapple meeting at the ministry of agriculture and cooperatives is known.

If the meeting agreed to approve a budget of 800 million baht to buy 100,000 tonnes of pineapple out of the market to reduce supply of the fruit as proposed, the pineapple farmers would peacefully disperse. Otherwise, the rally will be intensified and the Petchkasem highway, a main route to the South, could be blocked, said the farmers.

Prachuab Khiri Khan governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul told the framers not to block the highway as it would bring about hardship to commuters.

Maui County Farm Bureau Presents Maui Ag Day

The Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) will present the second annual Maui Ag Day with a focus on “Understanding Food Safety Certification” on Friday, Aug. 26, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hāli‘imaile Pineapple Company located at 872 Hāli‘imaile Road.

The trade show, panel discussion, tour and parking are free and open to the general public.

The day opens with the trade show and continental breakfast. At 9 a.m., the event will feature a Food Safety Certification Panel Presentation by three Maui farmers who have completed the Food Safety Certification process: Heidi Watanabe of Watanabe Processing, Geoff Haines of Pacific Produce and Brian Igersheim of Hāli‘imaile Pineapple Co. At 10:30 a.m., tour of Hāli‘imaile Pineapple Company facilities and pineapple fields. A Grown on Maui lunch will be provided to MCFB members at 11:45 a.m.; non-members may purchase lunch.

Tougher penalties, product tracking considered to curb agriculture crimes

Fighting farm theft and vandalism is getting a closer look by state officials in the wake of high-profile cases.

Tougher penalties, rural neighborhood watch and product tracking from field to vendor are among the ideas to combat a growing and troublesome trend.

Whether it’s theft of produce or vandalism on a massive scale, agricultural crime is becoming center on the state’s radar.

“It was the vandalism that really led to all of the interest, because we’ve have three incidents that we know of, so it’s kind of building,” said State Agriculture Director Russell Kokubun.

The crimes range from brazen papaya crop destruction on Oahu and the Big Island, to pineapple theft on Maui.

“We’ve had probably one or two pickups a day stolen out of 1350 acres, that’s a lot,” says Doug MacCluer of Haliimaile Pineapple Co.

Maui Ag Day to focus on food safety certification

HALIIMAILE – The Maui County Farm Bureau will host the second annual Maui Ag Day with a focus on understanding food safety certification from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Haliimaile Pineapple Co.

The trade show, a panel presentation on food safety, tour and parking are free. That event will be held at 872 Haliimaile Road.

A “Grown on Maui” lunch is free for Maui County Farm Bureau members. There is a fee for nonmembers.

Those planning to attend should RSVP by Wednesday. For more information, send email to warrenmcfb@hot mail.com or call 243-2290.

Maui Ag Day to focus on food safety certification – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News