Hawaii County Property Tax “Amnesty” Offered for Agricultural Program

On January 1, the County of Hawai‘i Department of Finance will begin additional review of all taxpayers who claim property tax discounts through the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program. During the final weeks in December, the Finance Department is encouraging any taxpayers who believe they may be claiming that agricultural use discount in error to participate in an “amnesty period.”

Hawaii County Logo
Under the agricultural use classification, owners of non-dedicated agricultural lands who are engaging in agricultural activities may receive property tax discounts under the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program. Currently 10,411 properties participate in this program, and the requirements for the program are described in the Hawai‘i County Code Chapter 19-57.

Property owners who participate in the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program but do not comply with the rules of the program are removed from the program, and the Finance Department automatically imposes a rollback of taxes for the current fiscal year. Starting January 1, the Finance Department will begin a new review that will require that property owners who receive the agricultural use discounts provide documentation of their continuous and regular agricultural activities.

Property owners who currently claim the agricultural use discount but believe they do not actually qualify for the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program may voluntarily withdraw from the program in December without penalty, said Director of Finance Nancy Crawford.

“This program is part of our ongoing effort to encourage agricultural activities in this county, but we need to ensure that the owners who receive these generous benefits are actually engaged in active, continuous agriculture,” Crawford said.

For more information, contact the Real Property Tax Office at 961-8201, or visit www.hawaiipropertytax.com


Hawaii Agriculture Theft a Problem – Hawai’i Law Seeks To Reduce Increasing Problem

The Hawai’i Forest Industry Association (HFIA) encourages farmers, ranchers and the public to know the law regarding ownership and movement of agricultural commodities.

Hawai’i law requires ownership and movement certification on any amount of an agricultural commodity that is to be marketed for commercial purposes or when transporting agricultural commodities weighing more than 200 pounds or with a value of $100 or more.

In testifying for passage of the law, the Hawai’i Farm Bureau Federation wrote, “Everyone knows farming is inherently risky. There are no guarantees of a successful crop. Besides being vulnerable to invasive pests and diseases, erratic weather patterns, and multi-year droughts, high land, labor, fuel, and other farm costs leave us unable to compete with mainland prices. On top of this, farmers are highly susceptible to theft. Our location and relatively large acreage, usually in more remote areas and impossible to guard 24 hours a day, leave us open to thieves that reap the benefit of our hard work or vandals that destroy our crops for kicks.”

The law requires that those convicted of agricultural theft face criminal penalties and pay restitution to their victims in an amount equal to the value of what was stolen as well as the cost of replanting.

A slab was brutally cut from this koa tree, which subsequently killed the tree in Kōke'e State Park, Kauai

A slab was brutally cut from this koa tree, which subsequently killed the tree in Kōke’e State Park, Kauai

In October 2013 Kaua’i’s The Garden Island newspaper reported on koa trees cut down by poachers. In the article Deborah Ward, the information specialist for the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, said “DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is investigating recent cases of theft of koa at Kōke’e State Park, as well as other pending cases. The majority of thefts have been on State Parks lands, most recently last week on park land, and in June 2013 in the Nā Pali-Kona Forest Reserve.”

From the theft of exotic fruit and native Kou trees on Hawai’i Island to pineapple by the truckload on Maui to valuable landscaping plants on O’ahu, agricultural theft costs farmers and ranchers millions of dollars annually. Losses also occur from vandalism and illegal hunting and cattle poaching on private lands. These costs are ultimately passed on to consumers.

Hawai’i Forest Industry Association encourages anyone suspecting agricultural theft to contact their local police department to report the crime.


Mayor Kenoi Signs Bill 113 – Relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants

Kenoi Apec

Aloha, Chair Yoshimoto and Members:

On Nov. 19, 2013 the Hawai‘i County Council adopted Bill 113 Draft 3 adding a new article relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants, and on Nov. 21, 2013 delivered the bill to me for my consideration. After careful deliberation and discussions with members of my administration and the public, I am signing Bill 113.

Our community has a deep connection and respect for our land, and we all understand we must protect our island and preserve our precious natural resources. We are determined to do what is right for the land because this place is unlike any other in the world. With this new ordinance we are conveying that instead of global agribusiness corporations, we want to encourage and support community-based farming and ranching.

The debate over this bill has at times been divisive and hurtful, and some of our hard-working farmers who produce food for our community have been treated disrespectfully. We are determined to protect every farmer and rancher. Agriculture on Hawai‘i Island will continue to grow with county assistance, investment and support. That commitment includes initiatives such as the public-private partnership to improve and expand the Pa‘auilo Slaughterhouse to support our grass-fed beef industry, and the launch of the Kapulena Agricultural Park, the largest agricultural park in the state on 1,739 acres of county-owned land. It also includes support for innovative training programs to grow the farmers of the future, and to train veterans to engage in agriculture on Hawaiian Home Lands, and the introduction and advancement of Korean Natural Farming as a sustainable method of producing healthier crops and livestock. It includes completion of the first-in-the-state Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study of Hawai‘i Island to measure the island’s progress toward food self-sufficiency.

We are determined to reunite our farming community to create a stronger and more vibrant agricultural sector. It is time to end the angry rhetoric and reach out to our neighbors. Our farmers are essential to creating a wholesome and sustainable food supply on this island, and they deserve to be treated with respect and aloha. We must turn now to a meaningful, factual dialogue with one another.

With my approval of this bill, our administration will launch a year of research and data collection to investigate factual claims and to seek out new directions that farming in our community should take. This work will include an expanded database detailing the locations of both organic and conventional farms, the crops that are grown, more accurate estimates of the revenue earned from these enterprises, and the challenges our farmers face in meeting food safety and organic certification requirements. We will work with our farmers and our ranchers to carefully monitor the impacts of this bill over the next year to separate speculation and guesswork from the facts.

Today our communities expect that government will be as cautious as possible in protecting our food and water supplies. We all want to minimize impacts to the environment while also producing abundant, affordable food for local consumption. This ordinance expresses the desires and demands of our community for a safe, sustainable agricultural sector that can help feed our people while keeping our precious island productive and healthy.


William P. Kenoi

Governor Abercrombie Signs Measures in Support of Agriculture

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed seven bills related to agriculture, a central component of the state’s economic and environmental sustainability.

Abercrombie Signs Ag Bills

“Part of Hawaii’s history and way of life, our agriculture industry keeps money in the local economy and supports thriving rural communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These bills are important to combat harmful pests and invasive species, promote urban gardening, and expand the agriculture industry through programs that support farmers while educating and encouraging youth in pursuing agricultural careers.”

HB353 (Relating to Agriculture) appropriates $550,000 over the fiscal biennium to combat the coffee berry borer, a small beetle harmful to coffee crops worldwide that has infested coffee crops in the Kona and South Kona regions.

HB1263 (Relating to Irrigation) appropriates $75,000 for the East Kauai Irrigation System and $45,000 for the Peekauai Ditch Irrigation System (also known as the Menehune Ditch).

SB593 (Relating to Agriculture) expands livestock feed subsidies to include milking goats, goats raised for meat, sheep, lambs, fish, and crustaceans; and appropriates $1.5 million to the state Department of Agriculture for livestock feed subsidies and the Livestock Revitalization Program.

SB993 (Relating to Agricultural Loans) expands the state’s Agricultural Loan Program by adding farm innovation loan programs and expanding the definition of a new farmer.

HB560 (Relating to Affordable Housing Urban Gardening) authorizes the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) and the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) to develop programs that provide incentives for the development of housing projects that incorporate urban gardening programs.

SB586 (Relating to Agricultural Building Permits) provides certain building code and permit exemptions for nonresidential buildings and structures, including indigenous Hawaiian hale, on commercial farms and ranches located outside the urban district.

SB757 (Relating to Agriculture) appropriates $75,000 to the state Department of Education for the Future Farmers of America to educate and support youth in agricultural careers.


Free Value-Added Guide for Hawai’i Producers Released

A free 58-page guide entitled, Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai‘i: A Guide for Small Farm Enterprise Innovation is now available. Because of the high cost of labor, land, and materials in Hawai‘i, family farms are only economically sustainable if they can produce high-quality products that are valued above cheap imports.

Front cover: Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai‘i: A Guide for Small Farm Enterprise Innovation

Front cover: Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai‘i: A Guide for Small Farm Enterprise Innovation

This guide helps growers add value to all aspects of their farm enterprise and offers resources for further developing their strategies. “If you cherish the farming lifestyle and want to keep farming, you have to make your farm profitable. This guide goes a long way towards showing how to escape from the fatal trap of commoditization by adding value for the consumer,” observes Dr. Kent Fleming, an extension economist who has developed numerous cost-of-production spreadsheets for the University of Hawai’i and other organizations worldwide.

The guide was authored by Craig Elevitch and Ken Love with input from agricultural professionals statewide. Elevitch is an agroforestry educator whose most recent book Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands (2011) provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on production methods, postharvest processing, and marketing. Love, widely known as a passionate advocate for the innovative small farm, is co-owner of Love Family Farms in Kona, Hawai’i, which produces a range of value-added products including jams, jellies, dried fruits, and coffee.

“Adding value is an essential component of small farm sustainability,” says Love, who has extensive experience working with farm enterprises. “There are many different ways to add value in growing, processing, and marketing products. This guide is about finding ways of adding value to your operation that are best suited for you and that are ultimately profitable.”

The publication was produced with funds from the State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, the Agribusiness Incubator Program of the University of Hawai‘i, and the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development. The guide is available as a free download and a limited number of free hard copies will be available throughout Hawai’i. Distribution locations and a link to download the free guide are listed at www.valueadded.info.


Workshops – “Value-Added Innovation for Hawai’i Growers: Making the Family Farm Profitable”

A workshop entitled “Value-Added Innovation for Hawai’i Growers: Making the Family Farm Profitable” will help growers hone their skills at adding value to their products and services. The free workshop will be held on March 20th in Hilo, March 21st in Kona, March 27th on Kaua’i, March 28th on O’ahu, and March 29th on Maui.

The Value-added Innovations workshop covers the process of developing a wide range of value-added products for local and export markets. Photos by Craig Elevitch

The Value-added Innovations workshop covers the process of developing a wide range of value-added products for local and export markets. Photos by Craig Elevitch

Competing with cheap imported agricultural goods, many Hawai’i farms have a difficult time selling their products profitably as raw commodities. The workshop will show how Hawai’i farm enterprises can differentiate their products to become more profitable, and therefore viable businesses.

“Small-farm enterprises are a crucial component of Hawai’i’s agriculture as we attempt to meet the diversity of our food needs,” says Dr. Robert Paull, an expert in crop quality at University of Hawai’i, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. “These enterprises need to be sustainably managed and economically viable. Value-added practices are essential for increasing potential for small farm profitability.”

Value-added practices include crop selection, cultivation techniques, harvest, and handling after harvest. All of these practices can improve quality and increase the price consumers are willing to pay. Photo by Craig Elevitch

Value-added practices include crop selection, cultivation techniques, harvest, and handling after harvest. All of these practices can improve quality and increase the price consumers are willing to pay. Photo by Craig Elevitch

The workshops will give participants insights into a range of subjects such as profitable crops and varieties, price setting for different markets and developing processed products. Participants will leave the workshop with an expanded understanding of adding value to all products and practices, while reducing risks and maximizing profits. The presentations emphasize ways to focus efforts at minimal cost for maximum effect, approaches that control risk, and resources for business planning.

“Adding value is an essential component of small farm sustainability,” says Ken Love, culinary educator and one of the workshop presenters. “There are many different ways to add value in growing, processing, and marketing products. This workshop is about finding those ways of adding value to your operation that are best suited for you and that are ultimately profitable.”

The workshop will be led by Craig Elevitch, Ken Love, and specialist presenters at each workshop location. Elevitch is an agroforestry educator whose most recent book Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands (2011), provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on production methods, postharvest processing, and marketing. Love, widely known as a passionate advocate for the innovative small farm, is co-owner of Love Family Farms in Kona, Hawai’i, which produces a range of value-added products including jams, jellies, dried fruits, and coffee.

For more information and to register, visit www.valueadded.info or call 808-756-9437. The first 30 registrants for each workshop location will receive a free preview copy of the new publication (in press): Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai’i: A Guide for Small Farm Enterprise Innovation. The workshop is produced with funds from the State of Hawai’i Department of Agriculture.

Workshop Schedule

  • Hilo, Hawai’i, Wed., March 20, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC).
  • Holualoa, Kona, Hawai’i, Thurs., March 21, Kona Imin Center.
  • Kalaheo, Kaua’i, Wed., March 27, National Tropical Botanical Garden.
  • Pearl City, O’ahu, Thurs., March 28, O’ahu Urban Garden Center (University of Hawai’i).
  • Kahului, Maui, Fri., March 29, Cary & Eddie’s Hideaway Restaurant.

Community Mobilized to Help Fight Serious Coffee Pest

Community support is being asked for the fight against the coffee berry borer (CBB), the worst production risk faced by coffee growers in Hawai‘i today. CBB was first discovered in South Kona in August 2010 and has since spread rapidly. At present all of Kona is considered infested, and the pest has also been found in the neighboring Ka‛u coffee-growing areas. As with many other invasive species, it may be only a matter of time before all Hawai‘i coffee-growing regions become infested by this beetle. Some growers have reported near-100% losses due to CBB, and the industry will not survive if this pest cannot be controlled.
Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

This past January, twenty-four agricultural professionals met for a two-day “Ag Professionals Coffee Berry Borer Summit: CBB Integrated Pest Management Methods and Protocols for Hawai‘i” at the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) in Hilo and UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Kona Cooperative Extension Service.

Participants included researchers, entomologists, extension specialists and agents from CTAHR, PBARC, and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA); coffee industry leaders; and those teaching or advising coffee farmers. The goal of the summit was to organize a standard protocol or management strategy based on best available information to present to those in the industry, targeting better control to reduce infestation levels. The event was organized by Andrea Kawabata and Stuart T. Nakamoto of  CTAHR’s Risk Management Hawaiʻi (RMH) and Local and Immigrant Farmer Training (LIFE) programs.

The goal of the summit was for scientists and the industry to establish an agreed-upon and updated protocol to help reduce growers’ confusion about more efficiently combating CBB in Hawai‘i. The standard protocol for growers to manage CBB emphasizes field sanitation, sampling and monitoring, timely harvesting, effective processing, strict quarantine procedures, and spraying of HDOA-approved fungal biocontrol Beauveria bassiana products. Although many of these recommendations have been provided to Hawai‘i coffee growers since 2010, new information is continuously forthcoming from researchers, growers, and external sources. Updated recommendations will be made available to the industry, including coffee growers and processors, and to the public.

Growers are encouraged to be proactive by staying informed, responsive, and connected. It is suggested they join a local coffee organization. To join the CTAHR extension coffee contact list and receive information about the CBB Integrated Pest Management Methods and Protocols for Hawai‘i and other coffee-related events, contact Gina Bagarino at 808-322-4892 or email ginab@hawaii.edu. When the new CBB Integrated Pest Management Protocol becomes available in the coming weeks, growers should implement its recommendations.

Processors can support growers who are controlling CBB by implementing a sliding scale payment system, so that those who actively manage their coffee farms are rewarded for their good husbandry with top dollar. Summit participants suggest processors avoid paying for coffee cherry with cash—according to law enforcement officials, cash payments of agricultural products may promote thievery.

Consumers can support the local coffee industry and sustainable agriculture by purchasing coffee grown and processed in Hawai‘i and by visiting coffee farms and estates to learn from the farmers about their dedication and commitment to growing Hawai‘i’s superb, world-renowned coffee.

To learn more about RMH/LIFE and events provided by Team LIFE, please visit http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/life/.


Agriculture Says Aloha to Hawaiian Farmers

Hawaii’s economy heavily depends on the success of their agriculture. Raw sugar, pineapple, and molasses are the state’s primary source of income outside of tourism.

Statistics provided by the USDA

However, the recent boom of corporate farming has threatened the livelihood of smaller, local farms. Coupled with the daunting downslide of the economic collapse, native Hawaiian farmers — with crippled means — are competing for vital market space against massive corporations with mega budgets.

In a roundtable discussion with Hawaiian Business Magazine, Dean Okimoto, Naio Farms owner, and former Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation president Dean Okimoto explained the types of hurdles that native farmers currently face to compete with factory farms on the mainland: “I talked with some people about bringing back chickens [to Hawaii]. Just for the processing facility you’re looking at $30 million and you need an FDA inspector in there at all times,” said Okimoto. “That’s what makes the system not work for small farmers. Corporate farmers are the only ones that can afford this infrastructure. And that’s what we lack here in Hawaii. Agriculture is going to need that help going forward.”

To find out more about the challenges facing the Hawaiian agriculture industry, read the full article here: Agriculture says aloha to Hawaiian Farmers

Governor Abercrombie Restores Agriculture Inspector Positions Lost in 2009

From the Governor’s Office:

Governor Neil Abercrombie approved the hiring of 10 agricultural inspectors, restoring some positions that were eliminated in 2009. The 10 positions will increase the level of inspections of produce and agricultural material and decrease inspection delays at Honolulu International Airport.

“Reinstating our agricultural inspectors was a key element of the New Day Plan and its promise to protect the environment, grow more of our own food, and restore a strong economy in Hawai’i,” said Governor Abercrombie.

With the restored inspector positions, the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture’s (HDOA) Plant Quarantine Branch will:

  • Increase inspection coverage at Honolulu International Airport, which is the highest-risk entry point for invasive species
  • Increase inspection of cargo moving interisland
  • Decrease the amount of overtime that importers are paying for after-hours cargo inspection
  • Allow for time to concentrate on processing import permits for vital bioenergy and research projects
  • Potentially re-establish the detector dog program

Governor Abercrombie also signed into law House Bill 1568, now Act 202, which directs the Department of Transportation and HDOA to begin the design and construction of biosecurity inspection facilities at airports and harbors.  These inspection facilities will allow HDOA and federal inspection authorities to perform their inspection tasks more efficiently and safely.

“Investing in our agricultural inspection activities to prevent the introduction of invasive species will save the state money in the long run,” said Russell S. Kokubun, Chairperson of the Hawai’i Board of Agriculture.  “Restoring agricultural inspection positions and the construction of new biosecurity inspection facilities will greatly improve our ability to protect our environment from the irreparable harm of outside threats.”

Prior to  layoffs in 2009, there were 95 plant quarantine inspectors statewide, covering all domestic maritime and air cargo inspections and handling import permits for regulated plants, animals and microorganisms.  Currently, there are only 50 agricultural inspectors statewide.

“The more eyes you have looking, the more invasive species you’re going to find and prevent from entering our environment,” said Carol Okada, Manager of the Plant Quarantine Branch. “One of our main priorities is to get our inspectors back on the job while we continue to search for others ways to boost our inspection services.”

The following table depicts the number of inspectors prior to the layoff and the current number statewide:

 Gov Restores Ag Inspector Positions Press Conf 1

The following Plant Quarantine data shows the number of interceptions at airports during the six-month period prior to the layoffs in 2009 and for the same period in 2010.  The interception rate dropped by half statewide and by 762 percent on O’ahu.


Gov Restores Ag Inspector Positions Press Conf 2

HDOA will be using a “recall list” to bring back former agricultural inspectors. The positions will be funded by the Pest Inspection Quarantine and Eradication Special Fund, which cargo importers pay into based on cargo weight.  The branch hopes to complete the rehiring procedures as soon as possible and have the inspectors back on the inspection teams.

The enactment of HB 1568 helps to lay the groundwork for the construction of inspection facilities at Honolulu International Airport and Honolulu Harbor to aid agricultural inspectors.  New inspection facilities will concentrate inspection activities in an enclosed, secured and temperature-controlled area.  This will make inspections more efficient by bringing the cargo to the inspection building rather than having inspectors go out to the individual cargo and shipping areas.  The building would also be able to better contain any pest or pathogen that may hitchhike on agricultural material. In addition, it will help increase food safety as cargo will not be exposed to daylight during inspection or while waiting for inspection.

An inspection facility was built several years ago at Kahului Airport as a requirement of the Kahului Airport Expansion Project.

Wordless Wednesday – But is it Edible?

This is growing in my backyard and it looks like some type of squash.

One that is just starting to grow looks like this:

Just wondering if this thing is gonna be edible eventually or am I just watching a weird vine grow?

Quarantine of Green Coffee Bean Importation to be Considered at Advisory Committee Meeting

News Release From the Hawaii House Blog:

The Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals, attached to the State Department of Agriculture, will meet on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 to consider one or more quarantine zones on the island of Hawaii to prohibit the importation of green coffee beans.  At issue is a serious infestation of the Coffee Berry Borer in local crops reported by Kona Coffee farmers.  The pest infestation was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service Systematic Entomology Laboratory.

Electronic scan of the coffee berry borer

The purpose of the meeting will be to hear testimony from the Hawaii coffee industry and, if warranted, to develop a request to the Board of Agriculture to adopt an interim rule restricting the movement of green coffee beans into the state.  The meeting will be held on:

Date:   Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time:  1:30 p.m.

Place: 1849 Auiki Street, Plant Quarantine Station Conference Room, Sand Island.

Persons wishing to provide testimony may do so in the following ways:

·         Via email to: Carol.L.Okada@hawaii.gov

·         Via fax to: 808-832-0584

·         Drop off or Mail to: 1849 Auiki Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Oral testimony will be accepted at the meeting.  Testifiers must provide a contact phone number if they wish to receive confirmation that their testimony has been received.

“It is imperative that interested parties provide testimony either in person or in writing as this will determine the committee’s recommendation to the Board of Agriculture by the end of the month,” said Rep. Clift Tsuji (District 3 – South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown), Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture.  “The coffee industry in Hawaii has a history spanning 200 years, and we don’t want to see it collapse because of our inattention to contain or eradicate the coffee berry borer infestation.”

It is unknown at this time how the coffee berry borer will affect Kona coffee yields and quality of the product.  The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is considered the world’s most destructive coffee pest.  Researchers estimate that the damage caused by the coffee berry borer worldwide is about $500 million per year in a global industry worth $90 billion per year.

Currently, there is no provision in Hawaii Administrative Rules that addresses the coffee berry borer or that restricts movement of coffee relative to this pest.  An interim rule may be adopted in the absence of effective rules if a situation is dangerous to public health and safety or if the ecological health of flora and fauna is endangered as to constitute an emergency.

The Plant Quarantine Branch of the DOA has requested the adoption of an interim rule to prohibit the movement of coffee plants, plant parts, unroasted seeds, and used coffee bags out of a quarantine zone in the Kona area of the island of Hawaii, except by permit.  The Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals may accept or amend the request and submit their findings to the Board of Agriculture which is scheduled to meet in late November.  The committee may also reject or defer the request.

Violators, under the proposed rule, would be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than $100.  The maximum fine would be set at $10,000.  The interim rule would be valid for no longer than one year.

FACT SHEET – Coffee Berry Borer

Current Condition:

·         The Department of Agriculture has surveyed about 65 sites statewide.  Of these sites, 21 are infested with the coffee berry borer.

·         All infested sites are in the Kona area of the Big Island.

·         The infested zone includes the area from mile marker 29 on Hwy 190 (Mamalahoa Hwy) and mile marker 93 on Hwy 19 (Queen Kaahumanu Hwy), south to mile marker 62 on Hwy 11, east of Naalehu.

·         In addition to the infested zone, the DOA has reports from about 100 individual farms that may be infested.

·         The coffee berry borer lays its eggs in the coffee cherry and as the eggs develop into larva, the larva feed inside the coffee bean.  The bean may be further damaged by secondary fungal, bacterial and insect infestation.  The combined damage can reduce yield, lower the quality and destroy the entire bean.

Eradication/Control Strategy

·         There are no chemical insecticides available in Hawaii that can effectively control coffee berry borer.  As the pest lives inside the fruit, chemical control strategies are limited.

·         While it is difficult to contain the coffee berry borer, even with the establishment of quarantine zones, the dissemination of the contamination can be retarded for many years through improved pest management practices.  The pest spreads through human activity.

Coffee in Hawaii

·         There are 6,500 acres under cultivation statewide, with annual production running between 6 and 7 million pounds.

·         Kona has produced coffee continuously since the early 1800’s and supports nearly 600 independent farms.  Farms average 3 acres and only a few have 50 or more acres.  Total Kona coffee acreage is over 2,000 acres, producing more than 2 million pounds in most years.

·         Kauai has the largest coffee orchard in Hawaii and in the United States with 3,000 acres in production.

·         Maui has several small coffee farms spanning from Kaanapali, the slopes of Haleakala, and an organic farm in Hana.  Maui has a total of 500 acres of coffee planted on converted sugar cane lands.

·         Oahu has over 100 acres of coffee in Wahiawa and Waialua.

Taro Production Up 10%

The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Hawaii farmers produced 4.4 million pounds of taro in 2008. That’s a 10 percent increase over the 4 million pounds of the traditional island staple and poi base that was cultivated in 2007…

…The service said the total value of Hawaii’s taro crop rose 16 percent in 2008 to $2.7 million…

…The number of taro farms remained unchanged last year at 105. But taro acreage increased by 10 acres to 390 acres…

More Here

Big Island Kalo Farmer Jerry Konanui

Big Island Kalo Farmer Jerry Konanui

Whatever Happened to the Fly that Eats Coqui Eggs?

So what ever happened to these flies that were supposed to save the Big Island from these coqui frogs more then six years ago?  I think there is an “Old Lady” to be held responsible.

In a July 2003 Honolulu Weekly article by Patricia Tummons, she reports:

…A fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, that has devastated vulnerable frog populations across the world is a possible biocontrol agent for coqui. Another might be a type of fly that eats coqui eggs in Puerto Rico. The species is already in Hawai‘i, said Arnold Hara of the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, “and may only need some time to begin infesting coqui eggs…”

Is there some lady around that’s swallowing flies?

I Don’t know why she swallowed the fly… perhaps she’ll die.

“When Pigs Fly”… To Hawaii

Looks like PETA is stepping up their war against pork again.

About nine months  ago, before I had a blog,  I reported on another site that PETA was launching a campaign against pork being shipped to Hawaii and some of the inhumane practices that were being done.

In a Press Release released today by The World Society for the Protection of Animals, it states the following:

Misleading labels on pork products are causing Hawaii residents and tourists to unwittingly participate in inhumane practices against animals

Stressed and exhausted from overcrowded and often filthy conditions, thousands of pigs endure a more than week-long journey from the mainland United States only to be slaughtered on arrival in Honolulu. In 2008, a total of 13,082 pigs were imported from California, Iowa, Montana and South Dakota for slaughter. The purpose of this inhumane and costly practice is to produce meat that can be sold to unsuspecting consumers as “Island Produced Pork.

I myself think this is just a re-release of another similar press release that was released earlier this year.

Many local media sources picked up the story after I first reported on it before I started my blog.

Here is just one of the previous articles on it by Honolulu Magazine:

Stephen Schildbach

Illustration: Stephen Schildbach

Next time you buy pork at the supermarket with the label “Island produced” you may want to know what that actually means.

In 1973, the state Department of Agriculture declared that this phrase could only be placed on pork that came from pigs actually raised in Hawaii. But in 2000, the law was repealed due to its unenforceability, which made it legal for supermarkets and retailers to place “Island produced” on pigs that had only been shipped to the Islands and slaughtered here…

More here

Farmers Market Online… What Do You Think?

Inspired by my sickness today and my fondness for the Farmers Market in Makuu that I like to go to but am not today because I’m too sick, I was thinking it would be cool if there was a way to access some of these products that are sold at the market online.

If I went to the Farmers Market and took pictures of booths along with contact numbers or emails of the vendors and then set up a page on the top of my site that was just devoted to Farmers market items… do you think that would work at all?

Vendors pay $15.00 a week to have their products displayed for about 6-8 hours or so.

If I charged a vendor $5.00 a month to have their goods displayed and a contact to reach them 24 hours a day 7 days a week… I think that would be a good deal.

I need some feedback on this idea before I proceed.  Comments?

It wouldn’t just be delegated to Maku’u Farmers Market either… I could go to various farmers markets throughout the entire island.

The only proceeds I would get is that initial $5.00 per month.  All other sales would go directly to the vendors and all payments would be done in person at time of the product exchange.

33 Confirmed Rat Lungworm Cases Since 2001

The Honolulu Advertiser has an excellent article on the recent epidemic here on the Big Island:

The rat lungworm disease that put two Big Island residents into comas is bringing attention to an illness confirmed in 33 reported cases in Hawai’i since 2001…

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

The state Health Department knows of 33 cases from 2001 to now. But state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said it is not known how many people have suffered through a milder form of the disease. Total reported Hawai’i cases before 2000 weren’t available late last week.

Symptoms can range from headache, joint pain and other symptoms that resolve on their own, to blindness, nerve damage and death.

Slugs and snails in Hawai’i are known to carry the rat lung-worm, a nematode named because it hatches in the lungs of rats. From there, the larvae pass through rat feces to slugs, snails or other mollusks. People who ingest snails or slugs that contain the parasite can get a rare form of meningitis — infection of the spinal fluid.

More Here

The Real Reason Sumo Wrestlers Get So Big

I knew there had to be a way these guys got “Hungry”:

Sumo wrestlers with pot bellies, yes. Sumo wrestlers with pot? Now that’s harder to grapple with.

In the past six months, four wrestlers have been kicked out of the ancient sport for allegedly smoking marijuana, creating the biggest drugs-in-sports scandal that Japan has ever seen…

…Sumo aficionados like to note that former grand champion Musashimaru, of Hawaii, had a 10 p.m. curfew…



…But that is changing…

More here

Richard Ha Goes National… And a Few Rebroadcasts From the Past

Big Island farmer Richard Ha, of Hamakua Farms, is going to be on the season opener for PBS’s national show  “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” which will be aired Saturday, February 7th, at noon on PBS Hawaii.

Leslie Wilcox reminds us that tonight, Richard will be on a re-broadcast of Hawaii’s Long Story Short w/ Leslie Wilcox tonight at 11:00 pm as well as on Sunday, February 8th at 4:00 pm on PBS Hawaii.

…Richard Ha isn’t your average farmer. He’s been called a visionary farmer. An innovative small business owner, Ha offers his employees profit sharing, has found a way to generate electricity on his property outside of Hilo, initiated an adopt-a-class program at Keaukaha Elementary School, advocates native Hawaiian practices of ahupua‘a and writes a blog on his website

For more on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, click here.

You may have seen this commercial on TV before:


Foodland to Begin Selling Island Dairy Milk

Island Dairy, one of the two remaining dairies in Hawaii, now is selling its milk at Foodland stores. The Big Island dairy will distribute whole, low-fat and fat-free milk under the label, Hawaii’s Fresh Milk…

The company, which uses solar power and grows its own feed, is trying to become sustainable as well as produce enough milk for the entire state

More here

For more on Island Dairy and how they do their farming check out this interesting article.

The Dangers of Eating Genetically Engineered Foods: State-Wide Talks

An informative state-wide tour with best selling author and international speaker Jeffrey Smith, presenting on the Dangers of Eating Genetically Engineered (GMO) Foods.

Jeffrey speaks on Kauai Feb 10-12, Molokai Feb 15, Hawai’i Island; Hilo Feb 17 & Kona Feb 21, and Oahu Feb 22-23.

Sponsored by Hawaii SEED, who will share perspective on local sustainable agriculture and food security.


If you care about what you and your family eat and what’s being grown on our land, don’t miss this event!

International bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith is a leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). His globally respected research captured public attention in 2003 with his first book, “Seeds of Deception”, which exposed the serious yet unknown side effects of genetically engineered foods.

Founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, Smith works internationally to educate on why agricultural biotechnology companies should not be in control of our food supply and how the FDA fails to keep our food safe. He has lectured in 25 countries, counseled world leaders from every continent, influenced the first state laws regulating GMOs and has united leaders to support The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, a revolutionary industry and consumer movement to remove GMOs from the natural food industry.

A popular speaker, he has been quoted by government leaders and hundreds of media outlets across the globe including The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Service, Nature, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, New Scientist, The Times (London), Associated Press, Reuters News Service, Time Magazine and Genetic Engineering News.

This presentation is free and open to the public. Please spread the word!

More info here