UH News: Andrew Hashimoto to step down as dean of UH Mānoa CTAHR

Advisory committee launches nationwide search for CTAHR leader

Andrew “Andy” Hashimoto, who has served as dean of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) since 2000, will step down from his administrative position, and will return to the faculty on or before June 30, 2010.

Hashimoto cited his original plan, on taking the post nine years ago, to serve up to a decade as CTAHR dean. “I am not sure if there ever is the perfect time to change positions,” he said, “but increasing family needs require that I have more flexibility and control over my time and schedule than I currently have as dean.”

County of Hawaii Issues: Emergency Senate Hearing on Dept. of Agriculture layoffs.

From Jeffrey Parker and Masako Cordray Westcott of the Hawaii Agriculture & Conservation Coalition

Emergency Senate Hearing on the Dept of Agriculture layoffs – please testimony today!

Thursday, Sept 3rd, 5-9pm, Maui Waena School, 795 Onehee Ave, Kahului




Sample Testimony

Further study on irradiator ordered | The Honolulu Advertiser


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled that more work needs to be done on an environmental assessment for a produce irradiator that’s proposed for a location near Honolulu International Airport.

The commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board issued a ruling last week saying the NRC staff needs to consider alternate technology and sites in producing the assessment. The board’s decision said it expects the staff to give meaningful consideration to transportation accidents in preparing a final environmental assessment.

The ruling came after almost three years of discussion at the NRC, which has been considering Pa’ina Hawaii LLC’s request to build an irradiator that would use up to a million curries of cobalt-60 to treat local fruits such as papayas, vegetables and other items so they can be shipped to the Mainland insect-free.

Big Island legislators to host info briefing on Kulani Correctional Facility

Kulani Prison
Kulani Prison


Media release from www.hawaiisenatemajority.com

The Senate Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Sen. Russell Kokubun is hosting a series of info briefings to address recent proposed changes by the Lingle administration and discuss the potential impact these changes will have on the state.

Gov. Linda Lingle last week announced her plans to layoff approximately 80 percent of Department of Agriculture personnel in an effort to help close a budget deficit.

Many Big Island lawmakers and residents are concerned about the devastating effect this will have on the local agriculture industry.

The announcement followed a news conference Lingle held the week prior during which she announced plans to cut staff and close Kulani Correctional Facility.

In addition to the Big Island meetings, more are scheduled early next week on the island of Oahu.

* Hilo: 5-8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 13 at  Aupuni Center – County Conference Room

* Kona: 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, Kealakehe High School Cafeteria

For more information, contact Senator Kokubun’s office at (808) 586-6760.Big Island legislators to host info briefing

Big Island legislators to host info briefing on Kulani Correctional Facility | Hawaii247.org

Hawaii House Blog: Agriculture

The Rodney Dangerfield of the Economy

The room was packed, and the message came through loud and clear at the informational briefing this morning on the state of Hawaii’s agriculture industry. It was a joint meeting of the Committees on Agriculture and Water, Land & Ocean Resources.
The industry faces its more critical period ever, and without significant changes, agriculture as we know it, may cease to exist in Hawaii in the near future. Here are some of the highlights from the briefing:

Dean Okimoto – President of Hawaii Farm Bureau, Owner of Nalo Farms

Nalo Farms is at great risk. Okimoto has been working on an expansion project for a few years which he hopes to open on Monday. He has poured much of his savings into the project as he has had to pay off a loan with no incoming project revenue for the past 15 months. He says that it feels like he is losing business, not gaining business, and even the farm itself is not doing well.
The danger for the industry is that once we lose a farm, it never comes back. Nalo Farms is not alone. Several farms have closed in recent months. Part of the problem is that agriculture is like "the Rodney Dangerfield of the economy" – it gets no respect. In particular, Hawaii’s tourism industry is highly dependent on agriculture, but Okimoto believes that there is little recognition from the tourism industry, nor collaboration between the two industries.

Buddy Nobriga – President of Nobriga Ranch

Nobriga contends that the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is one of the smallest Ag Departments in the nation. The state needs a larger, stronger department that can help the farmers and ranchers. There are not enough inspectors to monitor the quality of imported milk. We don’t have strong relationships with the USDA. We don’t have the land to establish dairies.
We need agriculture in order to be sustainable. In a way, agriculture and farmers are like the "security" of the state.

Meredith Ching – Alexander and Baldwin (large landowner)

Large landowners face the same problems as small farms. The lack of rainfall in the past decade has had a cumulative effect on island crops. 2008 was the driest year over the past 85 years. In addition, the state has been in a prolonged drought for the past decade, with the past two years being exceptionally dry.

Yvonne Izu – Hawaii Farm Bureau, former state water commissioner

The legislature needs to amend the state water code law. The East Maui decision is a perfect example of how the water code does not support agriculture. This is one way the legislature can help farmers without spending money. Farmers do not have hope that agriculture can survive in this state.

Richard Ha – President, Hamakua Springs

The world has changed. He has had to lay off 20 workers recently. He says you can tell that farming is bad when fertilizer sales go down. Fertilizer sales have been going down since last spring. There is, however, an opportunity to use agricultural lands for energy crops. A bill passed last year allows farmers to finance loans for energy projects, although this may not be quite enough incentive to bring more people into farming.
He has a blog now. "These days, you gotta blog if you’re a farmer."

Eric Tanouye – Greenpoint Nursery
Tanouye’s 20-year-old son is in college and has said that he wants to work in the family business. This excites Tanouye because it would mean three generations working in the business. Tanouye is also the President of the Florists and Shippers Association and he has visited members across the state on all the islands. All of them face very difficult times. It is unprecedented.

Kylie Matsuda – Matsuda and Fukuyama Farms in Kahuku

She represents the 4th generation of farmers in Kahuku. She has a degree in Tourism Industry Management, but wanted to go back and be part of the family farm business. Her parents did not want her to do it, but she wanted to use her tourism expertise and expand the business into agri-tourism. She had to fight to get her job at the farm. She feels that farming can become viable again if you consider value-added products which will bring additional dollars.
For example, tourists can’t take home fresh fruits and vegetables, but they take back dried fruit, jams and jellies, and other products. There are also farm-related activities to market.
What can be done? Some suggestions:
*Clarify the state policy on water. The East Maui decision seemed to put farmers at a lower level of beneficiary than others. The water commission needs to understand the importance and value of the agriculture industry to the state.
*Provide tax credits for new farmers. Incent farmers to start farming.
*Support more farmers’ markets. It provides more revenue and forces farmers to interface with their market and the public, and through dialog, they can improve their product and have fun talking to people.
*Dean Okimoto summarized: He wanted to make it clear that the farmers are not looking to the legislature to solve all their problems. However, the legislature can be helpful in making other industries and the general public more aware that farming is critical to our state. Right now, tourism does not appreciate or support agriculture. Someone needs to hold their (tourism’s) feet to the fire in helping agriculture.
Chair Clift Tsuji and Chair Ken Ito expressed their appreciation to the farmers for coming today; they understood the gravity of the situation. They will be using the information from the briefing to propose legislation for the 2009 session.

Hawaii House Blog: Agriculture

Organic Agriculture Transition Website Launched

The HowToGoOrganic.com , a web site
for farmers and processors seeking to transition to organic agriculture. The
web site is designed as a clearinghouse of North American resources for
farmers and businesses interested in becoming organic or in creating new
organic enterprises.

In North America, consumer demand for organic
products exceeds the rate of organic production. The new web site will help
encourage further domestic production by assembling in a single online
resource the full range of available information for farmers and producers
transitioning to organic.

“Last year, OTA’s Board President and I decided to respond to our members’
messages that they needed, and could sell, much more domestically grown
organic product. And thus was born the idea to create this clearinghouse of
resources on conversion to organic,” said Caren Wilcox, OTA’s Executive
Director. Transitioning land to organic certification usually takes three
years, and there is much research that each farmer has to undertake.

The site features two “Pathways for Organic,” one for farmers and one for
processors, as well as a regional directory for the United States, and a
searchable North American organic directory. The “Pathways” provide basic
information on the process of going organic with links to key resources
throughout North America. This unique resource is primarily designed for
conventional farmers and processors who want to get started or are
navigating the transition to organic production, but also provides valuable
information for established organic farmers, producers, and processors.

The web site’s regional directories showcase transition resources unique to
specific regions and states. Resource listings in the North American
directory can be searched by topic and subtopic, by type of resource, or by
state. The site also features profiles of farmers and businesses that have
successfully become certified organic or that are working through the
The URL for the web site is
Banner and box advertising are available for businesses wishing to
promote their products through this unique resource. For information on
advertising terms and rates, contact Beth Fraser at
OTA (413-774-7511, Ext. 27; bfraser@ota.com).

To create the new web site, OTA contracted with Chris Hill Media (principals
Chris Hill and Glenn Hughes), known in agricultural circles for its work on
the NewFarm.org and the Organic Seed Alliance web pages.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the business association representing
the organic agriculture industry in North America. Its nearly 1,600 members
include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations,
distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA
encourages global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth
of diverse organic trade.

Headquarters: P.O. Box 547, Greenfield, MA 01302 USA (413) 774-7511 * fax:
(413)-774-6432 * www.ota.com
Canadian Office: 323 Chapel Street, Ottawa, On K1N 7Z2 * (613) 787-2003
Washington, DC Office: * (202) 338-2900