Hawaii Agriculture Posts



The holiday season is officially here and that means many of us will be shopping for those we love and can’t be with, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With that said, the United States Postal Service has released their shipping deadlines for 2020. This includes international, domestic and military shipping deadlines.

If you are looking to ship something within the contiguous United States, you have four different options if you want your package to arrive by December 25th. (It should be noted this does not include Alaska and Hawaii.)

The deadlines are as follows:

  • USPS Retail Ground Service deadline: December 15th
  • First-Class Mail Service: December 18th
  • Priority Mail Service: December 19th
  • Priority Mail Express Service: December 23rd

If you are looking to send a package to Alaska, your deadlines are as follows:

  • First Class Mail Service: December 18th
  • Priority Mail Service: December 19th
  • Priority Mail Express Service: December 21st

if you are sending a package to Hawaii, here are your deadlines:

  • First Class Mail Service: December 15th
  • Priority Mail Service: December 15th
  • Priority Mail Express Service: December 21st

Make sure you send your gifts and / or packages to the destination by the above date so you can ensure it arrives on time. If you are sending something internationally or through military mail, your deadlines span a greater period of time. To see a full list of those deadlines, click here.

These deadlines likely mean more this year as the pandemic continues through the end of 2020. Families may not be able to travel or spend the holidays together. If this is the case, these deadlines will help make sure your packages arrive on time.

Biden Focus on Infrastructure, Environmental Improvements Could Lift Jones Act

by John M. Doyle –

ARLINGTON, Va. — President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s Jr. twin goals of rebuilding America’s infrastructure, while protecting the environment, could bolster support for maintaining the 100-year-old law that protects the U.S. maritime industry, according to a Washington think tank analyst.

The Biden campaign “had expressed interest in new infrastructure, in new green initiatives, and the maritime industry is actually a pretty good confluence of the two,” Tim Walton, a fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Defense Concepts and Technology, told a Navy League webinar marking the 100th anniversary of the Jones Act.

Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act bars foreign-built, foreign-owned or foreign-flagged vessels from conducting coastal and inland waterway trade within the United States and between the United States and its non-contiguous states and territories such as Alaska and Puerto Rico.

The long-standing legislation could figure in plans “where we’re talking about building maritime infrastructure, building low carbon emitting transportation mechanisms, green industries that support our economy in the oceans as we build a blue economy,” Walton added. A “Blue Economy,” according to the World Bank, is built on sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs and ocean ecosystem health.

Critics say the aged Jones Act has led to higher shipping costs, which are passed along as higher prices to vendors, retailers and consumers. They also maintain higher costs have driven the commercial shipbuilding industry overseas, leading to a smaller pool of qualified U.S. merchant mariners.

Without the law, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard officials have argued there would be no pool of U.S. noncombat ships — or trained American seafarers to man them — in a war or other national emergency. During the Nov. 12 webinar, former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft (retired) called for “a coherent maritime national strategy that connects with a national security strategy. That’s where the Jones Act needs to be woven into our national security strategies.”

Former U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, an Oklahoma Republican, said the need for such a strategy is evident, in a world where 90% of trade is moved by ship, and Great Power competitor China is the world’s biggest shipbuilder, by some measures has the world’s largest navy, and is expanding its commercial ports and naval bases around the world.

Walton’s comment about Biden came after a webinar viewer asked where the Democrat stood on the Jones Act. Both Biden and President Donald Trump support the law, although Trump considered, but later rejected, an extended waiver for foreign carriers to deliver liquid natural gas to hurricane wracked-Puerto Rico and LNG-dependent New England States. Biden incorporated Jones Act support in his campaign’s Buy American/Ship American strategy.

“Historically, the U.S. maritime industry has been a leader in technology,” Walton said, “but now in the 21st century, the Biden administration, as it appears it’s going to be, will have an opportunity, I think, to take some leadership and, as Adm. Zukunft said, actually craft an integrated national strategy for the maritime industry, and then implement it.”

To read the new Navy League special report on the Jones Act and its impact, go here.

State regulators start “Cannabis Regulators Association”

by Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry –

BATON ROUGE, La. (LDAF) – In an effort to better share institutional knowledge and regulatory practices, Louisiana is one of 19 states now part of the newly formed non-partisan organization called the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA).

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) which regulates medical marijuana in Louisiana will be represented by Medical Marijuana Program Director Tabitha Irvin, Esq. CANNRA is being established to assist federal, state, and local jurisdictions that have approved or are considering the legalization of medical and/or recreational cannabis.

“CANNRA is restricted to cannabis regulators to develop best practices and policies and also to support consistent regulatory actions,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

Irvin added, “It is an honor to be a founding member of an organization that will develop standards in the industry and provides regulatory guidance to state and federal elected officials. We are also proud to collaborate and welcome the expertise of other states as we regulate products so they are safe for consumers.”

For years, cannabis regulators across the country have relied on each other to share regulatory experiences, institutional expertise, and to provide assistance navigating the numerous evolving policy and regulatory issues associated with legalizing and regulating cannabis. Often the first step for state and local jurisdictions weighing legalization is to engage with regulators from established markets and programs. However, there has never been an organization to facilitate these interactions or help stakeholders find objective data and evidence-based approaches to policymaking and implementation.

CANNRA’s other founding members include the principal cannabis regulators from: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.

For more information about the Cannabis Regulators Association visit www.Cann-RA.org or email info@Cann-RA.org.

Plant containment greenhouse to safeguard Hawaii plant imports

horti daily

After 2.5 years of planning and construction, the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) boasts a new state-of-the-art containment greenhouse. Approved by the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) last week, the facility is situated in South Kona.

The $263K greenhouse, funded mainly by the state’s Grants-in-Aid program, will provide fruit growers with insect and disease-free plant resources imported from around the world.

“The greenhouse enables us to bring in, effectively isolate and safely propagate fruit we believe will be productive in Hawaii,” explains Mark Suiso, HTFG president. “Hawaii did not evolve naturally with fruit. This facility has technology that will allow us to efficiently introduce desired plants and evaluate them to assure they can safely be released and grown in our state.”

To ensure introduced plants don’t bring in any unintended problems, the 30 X 30-foot greenhouse is surrounded by a five-inch moat and 15-foot concrete barrier and further secured by an electric fence and security system. Specialized USDA-approved micro screen walls will prevent any insects from gaining access and limited staff entry to the greenhouse is through double doors. A solid, specialized plastic roof tops the greenhouse and interior halls between the greenhouse’s eight rooms are blackened with insect traps in each room and hallway.

Ken Love, HTFG executive director, says greenhouse waste water will be treated with bleach before released into a holding tank and finally a septic system. “There is always a concern that water passing through growing media could contain bacteria that might have been missed in the initial plant inspections,” he details. “The bleach treatment will kill any bacteria or virus that travels from the dirt to the drains and into the holding tank.”

According to Love, all chosen imported plants will go through five stages of inspection: by HTFG on-site at exporting farm, by country of origin’s Dept. of Agriculture, by USDA upon arrival in Honolulu, by HDOA in Honolulu, and finally by HTFG before entering greenhouse. Imported plant stock will arrive as small, bare-root trees or cuttings.

Once the seedlings are received at the Kona greenhouse, they will be potted in a sterile and organic nursery mix.

HTFG members will decide what plants to import and clone and they will be quarantined in the 900-square-foot greenhouse over a two-year period before released. The project’s six rooms can each hold about 1,000 trees and two, small tube pot rooms can hold up to 4,000 seedlings.

Love shares virtually unknown fruit like sweet-sour tampoi has “great economic potential” for Hawaii growers as does the creamy, sweet and savory durian, which can currently be exported from Hawaii to the U.S. Mainland.

“We have already arranged to bring in 500 hachiya persimmons from Japan and 1,000 durian from the Philippines,” adds Love. “Other trees are being grown out for us in Borneo, Queensland and India.”

In addition, the specialized containment greenhouse enables HTFG to apply for a specialized Controlled Import Permit to bring in new varieties of citrus and mango. This more restrictive permit is required as Hawaii is already growing citrus and mango and prevention of introducing new pathogens to existing crops is crucial.

Once plants are settled in the greenhouse, smart monitoring systems will result in little interaction between plants and people as the goal is to minimize exposure between the confines of the greenhouse and the outside world.

To nurture seedlings in a controlled setting, the greenhouse has a timed irrigation system that controls misting, fogging and spraying to mimic ideal growing conditions, including those of the equatorial rainforest. Each growing room has Wi-Fi sensors for monitoring and recording temperature and humidity readings.

“The precise production of desired growing conditions will produce healthier plants more quickly,” notes Love. “This includes cuttings from most citrus, Chou ume plum and any desired local plants like those in the mountain apple family.”

The new greenhouse is a sister project to HTFG’s existing statewide fruit tree repositories where trees are available for sharing among organization members, plus to the public at periodic sales. Love says distribution of the greenhouse’s resources will be similar.

“Ultimately, we want to see a diverse selection of fruit grown productively throughout the state and with little dependence on importing it from outside the state,” adds Suiso.

“HTFG especially appreciates the funding efforts of state legislators Mike Gabbard, Richard Creagan, Donovan Dela Cruz and Nicole Lowen. Mahalo to Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, Sharon Hurd, Lance Sakaino and Clare Okumoto of the HDOA; Mike Scharf, Matthew Goo, Peter Follett and Dorothy Alontaga of the USDA; Dr. Robert Paull and Andrea Kawabata of the University of Hawaii; and Kenneth and Ader Takaki of Ken’s Masonry, Mark Dixon Construction and Diamond Sprinklers.”

“Thanks also to HTFG members statewide, especially Brian Lievens, Greg Garriss, Chuck Cope, Shinobu Doucette and Xavier Chung.”

For more information:
Ken Love
HTFG President Mark Suiso

Coffee Leaf Rust Webinar

Coffee Leaf Rust Webinar
Thursday, November 19, 2020

This webinar is provided as a free resource for our association members and the broader community. It is designed to provide important updates on the Coffee Leaf Rust disease recently discovered in Hawaii. The webinar will consist of two sessions and have a Q&A session at the end of each.

The webinar will have two sessions. Please see the schedule below and register for each session individually.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you are notifying all farm staff, including seasonal pickers who may work on multiple farms, of new sanitation protocol to mitigate the spread of this fungus. We also encourage you to share this webinar information with your farm staff.

Webinar Schedule
Thursday, November 19

Short Term Strategies
with Jacques Avelino of CIRAD* and Andrea Kawabata of University of Hawaii CTAHR

Jacques will discuss the biology of the causal agent of coffee leaf rust: the fungus Hemileia vastatrix and some epidemiological considerations. He will explain how meteorological variables, topography, coffee tree characteristics, natural enemies and management, particularly nutrition and shade, affect coffee rust development. This knowledge can be used to improve coffee rust management at farm and regional levels.

Andrea will provide updated information on approved fungicides for coffee in Hawai’i to help combat Coffee Leaf Rust, including application protocol. She will also cover necessary general farm practices, hygiene, and sanitation protocol that producers should be implementing on their farms immediately to avoid spreading CLR spores.

*CIRAD is the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions.

Register for the Short Term Strategy Session

Research, Resources & Regulation
with Kevin Hoffman of HDOA and Lisa Keith of USDA and PBARC

Kevin will provide an update to attendees on the most current information available to HDOA including new quarantine restrictions.

Lisa will focus on the pathology of coffee leaf rust in Hawaii, including what we know, what we don’t know, and short and long term research efforts to manage CLR in Hawaii.

Register for the Research, Resources & Regulation Session

Biden and the maritime industry: On course with a few detours

By Pamela Glass

The maritime industry will find a friendly environment in Congress and at the White House as a result of last week’s elections, but it should brace for some major policy shifts as a Biden administration pushes ahead with its promised climate change agenda.

Maritime stakeholders can expect strong support in the White House for the Jones Act, which the industry considers crucial to its future as the law reserves coastwise trade for U.S. built, owned and crewed vessels. Biden included the Jones Act as part of his economic platform, and personally assured maritime unions of his support during the campaign.

“We know President-elect Biden is a very strong supporter of the Jones Act and the U.S.-flag fleet,” Michael Sacco, president of the Marine Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, said in a statement after the election. “Vice President-elect Harris also has demonstrated her total support for the U.S. merchant marine while representing California in the U.S. Senate.”

In Congress, the number of pro-maritime lawmakers did not change significantly. Voters returned to office the majority of the industry’s strongest supporters who serve on committees that oversee maritime issues and funding, and who often speak publicly favoring the Jones Act.

“We’re looking at a 97% retention rate for all lawmakers we supported in the 2020 election cycle,” said Craig Montesano, vice president, legislative affairs at the American Waterways Operators, which represents the tug, towboat and barge industry.

Topping the list in the House, where Democrats will retain power, are Reps. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY, chair of that panel’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee, as well as key members of the House appropriations committee.

DeFazio and his committee are trying to secure additional funding for the maritime industry, which was largely left out of the first Covid-19 relief bill. Work is underway on the Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Act, which is included in the National Defense Authorization Act. That bill has been passed by the House and Senate and a final agreement could come during the lame duck session.

In the Senate, where the majority party won’t be determined until after two run-off elections in Georgia, maritime stakeholders are also pleased with election results. They cite the re-election of Sens. Roger Wicker, R-MS, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees maritime matters, Dan Sullivan, R-AK, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, who had a tough re-election challenge and has used her seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to boost the industry, most notably training at the Maine Maritime Academy and shipbuilding at Bath Iron Works.

The industry will likely continue to have the bipartisan support that it has enjoyed over the years in Washington, since action on maritime policy and fiscal priorities do not generally fall along party lines.

As Biden begins to consider his cabinet positions, his selections for the Transportation, Agriculture and Energy departments and the Environmental Protection Agency will be important to the maritime industry. Although no firm decisions have been announced, under consideration for DOT are Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Biden loyalist, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, who has been active on transit policy, and Beth Osborne, director of a transportation advisory group who was a deputy assistant secretary for transportation during the Obama administration. Biden has signaled that improving infrastructure is a priority for him, and that transportation initiatives will include measures to decrease carbon emissions.

The current DOT Secretary is Elaine Chao, who is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Chao’s family is in the shipping business and she has been a strong advocate of the Jones Act as well as marine highway and ports funding. It’s not yet clear if any of her possible successors have direct ties or deep knowledge of the maritime community.

On shipbuilding, the Biden administration will inherit the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program, which began under President Trump and would build the next generation of training vessels for state maritime academies that would also be used during national emergencies like hurricanes. Philly Shipyard has been awarded the contract to construct up to five ships.

Under a Biden administration, the maritime industry might see its star rise as it takes on an important role in the president-elect’s plan to reduce carbon emissions across all sectors of transportation. It’s very likely that the people he appoints to key positions — such as a new administrator at the Maritime Administration — will be charged with developing strategies to create “green shipping” as part of the Biden climate change agenda.

This could mean a bolder move toward more climate-friendly shipping fuels like LNG, methanol, ammonia and biofuels, as well as a more activist role for the U.S. in influencing global shipping policies through international organizations that had been pulled back during the Trump administration.

The offshore oil and gas industry should expect fewer opportunities for exploration and development as energy policy shifts to developing alternative fuels.

This would affect the offshore vessel sector but provide opportunities for workboats in the emerging offshore wind business. It would also boost arguments favoring barging as an environmentally friendly transportation mode and developing marine highway networks that use waterways to relieve land-side traffic congestion.

The robustness and success of these policies will likely depend on which party wins the majority of the Senate. A split government with Democrats controlling the White House and House of Representatives and Republicans controlling the Senate will make it more difficult for Biden to get his policies approved. Under this scenario, Biden would likely present a less ambitious agenda, but he will still be able to make many changes through regulation and executive orders, analysts say.

USAJOBS Daily Search Results for Agriculture Jobs in Hawaii for 11/12/2020

Research Food Technologist
Department: Department of Agriculture –
Agency: Agricultural Research Service
Number of Job Opportunities & Location(s): 1 vacancy – Hilo, Hawaii
Salary: $79,109.00 to $144,510.00 / PA
Series and Grade: GS-1382-12/14
Open Period: 2020-11-12 to 2020-12-14
Position Information: Permanent – Full-Time
Who May Apply: Career transition (CTAP, ICTAP, RPL), Open to the public

Some jobs listed here may no longer be available-the job may have been canceled or may have closed. Click the link for each job to see the full job announcement.


State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture

HONOLULU – Coffee leaf rust (CLR) has been confirmed on coffee plants on Hawai`i Island by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Identification Services. The samples were collected by a grower on a farm in the Holualoa area, south of Kailua-Kona, on Hawai`i Island on October 31, 2020. Samples from Hilo, mentioned in an earlier news release, were negative for CLR. Earlier in October, CLR was detected and confirmed in the Haiku area of Maui. CLR has not been detected on other islands.

CLR is one of the most devastating pests of coffee plants and is established in all major coffee-growing areas of the world, but had not previously been found in Hawai`i prior to its recent discovery on Maui and Hawai`i Island.

“Coffee is one of Hawai`i’s signature crops, of which production was estimated to be $54.3 million in 2019,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “As surveys continue across the state, the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture is preparing to establish interim rules that will hopefully prevent the spread of the fungus to uninfested islands.”

The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Advisory Committee on Plant and Animals has scheduled a meeting on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. to consider an interim rule to restrict the movement of coffee plants and coffee plant material from islands found to have CLR to islands on which the fungus has not been detected. Information on the meeting via Zoom is available at: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/pqmtgs/.

CLR can cause severe defoliation of coffee plants. Infected leaves drop prematurely, greatly reducing the plant’s photosynthetic capacity. Vegetative and berry growth are reduced depending on the intensity of rust in the current year. Long-term effects of rust may include dieback, which can have a significant impact on the following year’s yield, with some researchers estimating losses between 30 percent and 80 percent.

The first observable symptoms are yellow-orange rust spots, appearing on the upper surface of leaves. On the underside of the leaves, infectious spores appear resembling a patch of yellow- to dark orange-colored powder. These young lesions steadily increase in size with the center of the lesion turning necrotic and brown, with the infection eventually progressing up the tree. CLR may also infect young stems and berries.

HDOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch has prepared a field guide to aid in the detection and reporting of possible CLR infections. The field guide maybe found at: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/new-pest-advisories/

While there are fungicides that may be used to help control the fungus, one of the key factors to any pest management program is good sanitation practices. Regular pruning and training of the coffee tree helps to prevent over-cropping and maintain a healthy field. These practices help to improve air circulation and also to open up the canopy to allow proper fungicide spray coverage. Good weed control is an important factor as it keeps competition for vital nutrients low, thereby reducing the susceptibility to the rust.

CLR, Hemileia vastatrix, was first discovered in Sri Lanka in 1869 and is now found in the major coffee-growing regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.

Hawai`i has strict importation rules requiring all imported green coffee beans for roasting and associated packing materials be fumigated prior to entering the state to ensure beans are free of pathogens and insect pests. These rules also subject coffee plants and propagative plant parts to strict quarantine requirements if imported to Hawai`i, including a quarantine on all imported coffee plants for a minimum of one year in a state-run quarantine facility.

To report possible coffee leaf rust infestations on any island, call HDOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch at (808) 973-9525.

For more information on coffee leaf rust go to the UH-CTAHR webpages at:


Or, the HDOA Field Guide at: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/new-pest-advisories/

Maui County Farm & Ranch Continuity Program

Reimbursement program for farms and ranches available through the Maui Chamber of Commerce. Applications may be submitted through November 20th, or until funds are exhausted on a first-come-first served basis.

Allowable fund uses:

  • Farmland Mortgage & Rent
  • Farmland Utilities – Water/Electricity
  • Seeds, Plants
  • Fertilizer, Pesticide, Mulch, Compost
  • Equipment & Vehicle Repairs & Maintenance (if farm operations were impacted due to lack of sales and they were not able to pay for these items)
  • Irrigation Repairs
  • Planting Supplies, Tables, Containers
  • Fuel
  • Packaging
  • Feed for Livestock

Applicants must submit:

  • A complete online application
  • A copy of their filed 2019 IRS 1040 Schedule F or their corporate taxes for 2019, showing farm profits or loss
  • A copy of the first 9 months (or 3 quarters, if filed quarterly) of G45 returns for both 2019 and 2020 showing gross receipts under Producer.
  • Receipts for qualified expenses prior to November 20, 2020
  • Information on numbers employed prior to March 20, 2020 and currently.
  • A completed certification form verifying that applicant(s) did not receive funding assistance from the Kokua Maui County Small Business Recovery & Relief Fund; Maui County Adaptability
  • Fund; Maui Chamber of Commerce Micro-Business Loan; and/or MEO’s Agriculture Micro-Grant.
  • For more information, program details, and the online application, please visit: http://www.mauichamber.com/maui-county-farm–ranch-continuity-program.html

You can contact the Maui Chamber about this program via email or phone: info@mauichamber.com (808) 244-0081

Kylie Tavares
Edible Crops, Sustainable Agriculture, and Farm Food Safety Extension
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
Maui Agricultural Research and Extension Center