By Jari Sugano
Under a blessing of light rain and mist, the staff of U.S. Representative Kaialiʻi Kahele paid a visit to the Waimānalo Research Station on December 3.
The freshman member of Congress was represented by Dave Chun and Hanale Lee Loy, who toured the grounds along with CTAHR Dean Nick Comerford, Associate Dean for Research Walter Bowen, and faculty and staff.
Despite the winter rain conditions, our guests managed to visit the incubators of GoFarm Hawaiʻi, CTAHR’s new and beginning farmer program. They also examined the installation of high-tunnel screenhouse systems available to farmers via USDA EQUIP/AMA cost-share programs, talked story with local practitioners involved with the Go Fish aquaponic systems developed in partnership with the UH Sea Grant College Program, walked through an active field trial conducted by the IR-4 Minor Crop Registration Program, and tasted papaya that was grown for seed by CTAHR’s Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center and Seed Lab.
Dave Chun is no stranger to CTAHR as our 2019 Ka Lei Hano Award recipient and a long-time supporter of Hawaiʻi agriculture. The local boy has spent almost his entire career in Washington, D.C., working in the offices of U.S. Representatives and Senators from Hawaiʻi. The Ka Lei Hano Award is the highest tribute of CTAHR. It is bestowed on friends and benefactors whose lifetime commitment and decades of service have greatly enhanced the college’s efforts to support a diverse economy, healthy environment, and strong communities.
Congressman Kahele, whose district includes Waimānalo, has tremendous influence on the expansion of local agriculture in Hawaiʻi, due to his role on the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and as the former chair of the Committees on Higher Education and Water and Land for the Hawaiʻi State Senate.
It is CTAHR’s kuleana to advocate for the unique needs of our local farmers, ranchers, and nursery growers. It was our pleasure to showcase some of the applied research trials and educational demonstrations that directly address the challenges brought forward by Hawaiʻi’s diversified agriculture industry.
Mahalo to everyone who participated in making their visit a success.