The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will spend the next several months gathering information for the 2014 Commercial Floriculture and Nursery Survey. NASS will collect data on production area, sales of floriculture and nursery products, and the number of agricultural workers from producers in Hawaii, California and other major floriculture and nursery states across the nation.
“The data we collect in this survey will help the growers make vital business decisions and evaluate the results of the growing season,” said Mark Hudson, State Statistician of the NASS Hawaii Field Office. “The new report will also give us a chance to pinpoint new trends within the floriculture and nursery industry and ensure that policy decisions are made based only on factual information provided directly from producers.”
Once the survey is mailed, growers will have until February 24 to respond. After that, NASS representatives may be contacting those who did not respond to collect the information over the phone or in a face-to-face interview.
All information NASS collects in this survey will be kept strictly confidential, as required by federal law. The results of this survey will be made available in June 2014 in the annual Floriculture Crops report in aggregate form only, without revealing any information that may identify individual operations. All reports are available on the NASS web site: www.nass.usda.gov.
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Hawaii agriculture officials are asking for the public’s help in spotting infestations of the stinging nettle caterpillar, which appears to have recently spread to Kauai.
The state Department of Agriculture said Wednesday Kauai residents may begin to see more of the bugs during the summer, the peak months for the species.
The Big Island, Maui, and Oahu already have established populations of the caterpillar, which carries a painful sting.
Last August, a Kauai plant nursery owner found one and turned it in to the agency’s plant quarantine branch. The department has since found adult moths in Wailua, Kapaa and Kilauea.
The caterpillar is white and has a long stripe running down its back. Those allergic to the bug may have difficulty breathing or develop other serious symptoms after being stung.
Many gardeners in Hawaii have become native plant enthusiasts. More and more people are awakening to the beauty of our native species and learning about them and the vigilance required to save them from harm or eventual extinction. Events like Arbor Day at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, offering free native plants and information on growing them, help folks learn ways to grow and care for native plants. Interest in these plants, which have thrived in our native forests for millennia, helps raise awareness of the threats a multitude of invasive species pose to them.
One particularly threatening species, the autograph, or signature, tree (Clusia rosea) caught the notice of Darcy Ames, who has witnessed firsthand the encroachment of this species on the ohia forests near her home.
“When I first bought property in Holualoa, I thought the autograph tree was quite lovely,” Ames said. “After a few years of experience, inspection and investigation, I began to realize this tree was capable of destroying the habitat of our ohia and other native species unless we began a proactive course against it.
“After witnessing the damage it can cause, I can honestly say that I hate what this plant is capable of doing. Autograph seeds can be dropped by birds and root as much as 20 or 30 feet in the air in the crotch of an ohia tree.
The H-2A program allows agricultural employers to bring in foreign workers when there is a shortage of U.S. workers.
2008 | H-2A approved
» Bay View Farms: 10
» Bird Feather Hawaii: 25
» Captain Cook Honey: 2
» Hawaiian Queen Co.: 4
» Haleakala Ranch Co.: 1
» Kapapala Ranch: 1
» Kona Cold Lobsters: 8
» Kona Coffee Grounds : 36
» Larry Jefts Farms: 48
» Rincon Family Farms: 2
2008 | Rejected
» Bird Feather Hawaii : 10
» Precy Nazaire/Hawaii Agricultural Labor Services: 50
» Takenaka Nursery: 5
2009 | H2-A approved
» Bird FeatherHawaii: 18
» Captain Cook Honey: 2
» Global Ag Labor: 48
» Haleakala Ranch: 1
» Hawaiian Queen Co.: 6
» Kapapala Ranch: 2
» Kona Coffee Grounds: 28
» Kona Queen Hawaii : 5
» Larry Jefts Farms: 40
» Richard T. Watanabe Farm: 1
» Waikele Farms: 80
2009 | Rejected
» Bird Feather Hawaii: 3
» Global Ag Labor: 12
» Greenwell Farms: 12
» Kona Queen Hawaii: 2
» Palehua Ohana Farmers Cooperative: 8
Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Foreign Labor Certification Data Center
The elimination of six plant quarantine inspectors, also within the Department of Agriculture, will limit nursery certification statewide and force cargo headed for Kauai to instead be routed to Honolulu for inspection.
Documents turned over to the Hawaii Government Employees Association last month by the Lingle administration detail the criteria used to eliminate more than 1,100 state jobs by mid November.
Khon2 obtained a copy of all 462 pages provided to the union as ordered by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.
Department directors and supervisors were told to keep the following criteria in mind when eliminating jobs
- Minimize health and safety impacts.
- Minimize adverse impacts on service to the public and agencies involved.
- Prohibit the reduction of staffing levels below the minimum required to support critical program functions.