Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program


Volume 39: Jul | Aug | Sept 2020

The Food Provider
FALL 2020 JULY| AUG | SEPT Volume 39
Sustainable & Organic Research & Outreach News
News from Hawaii's Researchers & Extension Professionals
Guava Fruit Bagging For Bird and Fruit Fly Damage Control
Ahmad, A., Uyeda, J., Radovich, T., Wages, S., Silva, J., Kirk, E., Tavares, K., and Sugano, J.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Fruit flies and birds are major bottlenecks to growing commercial guava in Hawaii. Fruit bags are a non-chemical, physical barrier type, pest management tool that growers can use in place of contact and systemic insecticides. Bags are easily accessible online and provide excellent control of fruit fly and bird damage. Local and national research suggest that fruit bags provide various degrees of fruit quality and pest management improvements. Fruit bags can be used on a wide array of tropical fruit crops in Hawaii. Fruit bags work better than screenhouse systems in tropical fruit culture as it allows beneficial insects and other biological control measures to be implemented in the orchard production system. Informed decision making is important prior to purchase and application of fruit protection bags. Fruit trees, its fruiting type (single or multiple fruit on each branch) and size of fruits at maturity, should be taken into consideration prior to purchasing and using fruit bags. Researchers at the Waimanalo Research Station evaluated easily accessible fruit bags for longevity and efficacy in improving pest protections. To learn more about what bags may best protect your fruit from pests, click here to read the full article click here
FMI Please contact Dr. Amjad Ahmad
Making Irrigation Decisions Using Tensiometers

Taniguchi, A., Joshua Silva, J., Spinelli, G., Uyeda, J., Ahmad, A., Wang, K-H., and Sugano, J.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
A tension meter, also known as a tensiometer, measures the direct physical forces that affect water processes in the soil. Tensiometers are a user friendly, affordable tool that can aid farmers in making irrigation decisions. The tensiometer acts like an artificial root, measuring the tension between the ceramic tip and the soil. Measurable tension can indicate how much and when irrigation is needed and the difficulty for plants to uptake water from the soil. The use of tensiometers can assist growers in achieving irrigation efficiency by applying water in accordance with crop needs. Tensiometers can also be used individually or in combination with other irrigation management tools.CTAHR researchers have put together a comprehensive guide for the use of tensiometers, click here for the full article.
FMI Please contact Joshua Silva
Bagrada Bug: A Summertime Pest of Brassica

Silva, J., Tavares, K.,, and Shimabuku, R.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Native to Africa, Bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris) is an invasive stink bug that causes severe damage to brassicas: cole and mustard crops. Bagrada is typically a summer pest, adults are most active at temperatures around 85F and can be identified by their black exoskeleton and orange markings. Feeding damage by bagrada typically includes white patches, stippling, and wilting caused by piercing-sucking mouthparts. Bagrada damage to apical meristems can lead to stunted and unmarketable shoots and heads, or even complete plant collapse. When populations are high but Brassica plants become scarce, secondary hosts include corn, cucumbers, okra, papaya, beans, sugarcane, and even weedy species of Brassicaceae. This article offers bagrada background and identification information, and reviews some of the management practices employed in controlling bagrada, including: prevention, scouting, cultural practices and chemical control. Click here to read the full article and learn more.
FMI Please contact Joshua Silva 
Conducting a Seed Germination Test: Why and How

Tavares, K. Uyeda, J, Silva, J
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Conducting a seed germination test, also known as a seed viability test, can be a useful tool for farmers. While quality is often managed by the companies that sell fruit and vegetable seeds, there are some situations in which a commercial grower may need to conduct their own seed germination test. The results of the test may affect the amount of seeds needed to account for any seed that does not germinate. Alternatively, if a grower observes poor germination in seedling trays or fields, it may indicate a problem with the seeds. A seed germination test can help determine what the issue could be whether it is from the seed or another factor. If seeds germinate properly in the test but fail to emerge in the seedling tray, then it may indicate there is a disease or improper conditions inhibiting germination. For a step by step guide and more information on how you can conduct a seed viability test of your own, click here.
FMI Please contact Kylie Tavares
Downy Mildew Resistant Basil Variety Trials on O‘ahu:
Results from 2018-2019
Silva, J.
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a high-value herb grown year-round in Hawai‘i. However, basil downy mildew (Peronospora belbahrii) is a plant disease that can cause chlorotic and unmarketable leaves, especially during high humidity and cooler temperatures. Entire fields can be lost to BDM or, such as in Hawai‘i, harvest periods can decrease by nearly half during BDM infections. Over the past 3 years, new basil varieties bred for BDM resistance have been developed by universities and seed companies in the United States and abroad. These resistant varieties are now available to farmers, however their performance under the growing conditions of Hawai‘i had not been investigated. Cooperative Extension evaluated these varieties over a series of trials during the summers and winters of 2018 and 2019. Differences in BDM resistance were also observed over time. Although a variety initially may be resistant to BDM, the sexual reproductive behavior of this pathogen can lead to the creation of new BDM races. These new races and their genetics could possibly overcome and render new basil varieties’ resistances ineffective. Click here to read the full article and learn more about how the BDM resistant basil varieties compare in Hawai‘i.
FMI Please contact Joshua Silva
Publications & Programs
Grow, Eat, Think Local
The GET Local initiative is a collaborative effort by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Cooperative Extension agents in agriculture and human resource based fields. The Extension agents incorporate the concept of GET Local and educating the community and stakeholders on the commodities available locally in order to increase consumer interest, grower knowledge, and general public awareness of local agriculture.
GET Local Virtual Cooking Challenge
This summer, in response to education programming changes due to the COVID pandemic, the GET Local initiative partnered with the Hawaii State 4-H program to sponsor an online cooking contest for youth ages 12-18. The challenge was open to all youth in the state, whether or not they were currently a 4-H member. This was the second year for the cooking challenge in Hawai‘i.
The goal was for youth to create a video featuring a local commodity (plant or animal) and
demonstrating the successful completion of a healthful recipe. During the challenge youth learned food safety, kitchen skills, nutrition facts, and presentation skills.
Awards for the contest were provided by support from The Ardis Tanaka Foods and Nutrition Project Support Award. Ardis Tanaka was a 4-H member who became a 4-H leader. Ardis’ favorite projects were
foods and photography.
Youth from four islands submitted entries into the contest in two different categories; middle school and high school. The youth located local commodities and products and recorded themselves demonstrating the successful cooking of their food, then submitted a photo of their finished dish.
This year had seven winners, with co-winner high schoolers Emma Ching (O‘ahu) for her Citrus Asian Mahi Medley and Luke de la Pena (Kaua‘i) for his Green Papaya Salad. In the middle school category the winner was Sophia Kato (Maui) for her Mango Salsa. The runners up were Prince Baltero (Lāna‘i) for his Banana Blossoms Fish balls, Liliana Dutcher (O‘ahu) for her Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp, Ramsey Hillen (Maui) for his Hawaiian Style Poke and Steamed Kalo, and Charlize Kenney (Kaua‘i) for her Kalua Pork Taro Hash Patties.
The winners received a cash prize provided by The Ardis Tanaka Foods and Nutrition Project and a culinary knife set. Runners up received a knife set. In addition to the prizes U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawai‘i shared her own local recipe for kimchi that she uses while in Washington, D.C. The video is available on the Hawai‘i 4-H Cooking Challenge Winners page.
The GET Local program plans to run the contest again in 2021.
For more information on GET Local, go to:  
Beginning Farmers
Helpful articles and resources for those getting started
Hawaii Agribusiness Guidebook 2020 Edition

GoFarm Hawaii has put together a short comprehensive document that outlines some important aspects of running an agribusiness. The Guidebook provides the reader with a summary of important points and tips for veteran and new farms alike. Please click here for the Agribusiness Guidebook 2020
Hawaii New Farmer Loan Program
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture offers direct loans to full-time farmers. New Farmer Loans are for applicants who intend to farm full-time. A full-time farmer is a person who devotes most of their time to farming or derives most of their income from farming operations. A down payment or equity contribution equal to 15% of the total project cost is required from the applicant. Loans of up to a 40 year term may be extended for farm ownership and improvement applicants. Ten year loan periods are available for financing operating expenses. Microloans of less less than $25,000 are also available for operating expenses. Please click here for more info

Updates on USDA Program Flexibilities and the CARES Act

USDA announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, CFAP 2, will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.
In addition to implementing the CARES Act, the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency are working to provide additional flexibilities to help producers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
For full information click here.
Local Producer Loan Program
Whole Foods Market lends money to small, local, independent producers to help them expand their businesses. They have completed loans to organic vegetable farmers, a heritage turkey grower, a nutritional protein bar maker, a maker of body care products, and many others. The program is driven by the eleven regions of Whole Foods Market, with support from the Local Producer Loan Program office in Austin. The loan program strengthens producers' relationships with our regions and supports the development of specific products (including organic and animal compassionate products) that we want to carry in our stores. To date, the Local Producer Loan Program has provided over 350 loans, representing more than $25 million in capital for our suppliers. Click here for more information on Whole Foods Local Producer Loan Program
Organic Update
Organic Cost Share Amount Reduced: Application Due October 31, 2020
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program provides cost share assistance to
producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their
certification under the National Organic Program. Certified operations may receive up to 50 percent of their certification costs paid during the program year, not to exceed $500 per certification scope. This is down from previous years, when reimbursement was up to 75% or $750 of certification costs. Find your nearest Farm Service Agency office to submit your application. See contact info below. You’ll need to complete the cost share application and have the right documentation (W-9, proof of certification, and an itemized invoice of certification expenses). The OCCSP webpage can be accessed here:
Hawaii County FSA Office
808-933-8381, Ext. 2
Lester Ueda - #808-933-8341, email –
Maui County FSA Office
#808-871-5500, Ext. 2
Kauai County FSA Office
#808-245-9014, Ext. 2
Robert Ishikawa -
Honolulu County FSA Office
#808-861-8538, Ext. 2
Jason Shitanishi -
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Fall 2020 Meeting Materials Available
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) has posted meeting materials for the NOSB Fall 2020 Meeting, to be held October 20 & 22 and October 28-30. Based on input from the Board and the organic community, the upcoming fall meeting will be held live online, instead of in-person. Available meeting materials include the tentative agenda, proposals and discussion documents. Proposal documents are available in a single combined PDF, as well as in individual proposals on each corresponding Subcommittee web page. Registration for oral comments and written public comments will open in early September. Visit the NOSB Fall 2020 Meeting
Strengthening Organic Enforcement Proposed Rule

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service proposes amending the USDA organic
regulations to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and
sale of organic agricultural products. The proposed amendments are intended to protect integrity in the organic supply chain and build consumer and industry trust in the USDA organic label by strengthening organic control systems, improving farm to market traceability, and providing robust enforcement of the USDA organic regulations.

Deadline for Public Comments is October 5, 2020.
Details on the proposed rule and instruction on how to comment can be found here:
Upcoming Events
Taro Field Trial Virtual Field Day
When: Thursday, September 24, 2020 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Cost: FREE! Register at: Register Here
Virtual Garlic Production Workshop
When: Monday, September 28, 2020 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Cost: FREE! Register at: Register Here
Feature Farmer
Kaua'i Glory Farm
Lihue, Kaua'i
Farmer: Zongping and Shuiping Huang
Area under production: 5 acres
Years farming in Hawai'i: Farming since 2008 and moved to Grove Farm land back in April of 2018
Crops grown, animals raised, goods & services: Mixed vegetable including 20 different crops, some fruit including papayas and dragon fruit.
Fertility Management: We use both organic and synthetic fertilizers. Pelleted chicken manure and agricultural lime
Hot Tip: For young farmers, start small. Don't go too big, especially if you don't have experience yet.
Mahalo nui loa 
Kaua'i Glory Farm
Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program (WSARE)

Western SARE provides grants in several categories. Each of these grants is available at specific times of the year. Applying online for a grant is a simple step-by-step process. Please read each grant's specific Calls for Proposals.
Professional Development Call for Proposals - Opened April 17 2020. Closes November 11, 2020
Research to Grassroots Call for Proposals - Opened April 17, 2020. Closes November 18, 2020.
Farmer/Rancher Call for Proposals - Opens August 17, 2020. Closes November 2, 2020
Professional + Producer Call for Proposals - Opens August 19, 2020, Closes November 4, 2020.
Conservation Tillage Systems in the Southeast
SARE’s newest book, Conservation Tillage Systems in the Southeast, explores the importance of conservation tillage and provides in-depth management guidance to help farmers control erosion and build soil quality. Its emphasis is on the use of conservation tillage in rotations of agronomic crops and cover crops typical of the Southeast. Each conservation tillage system is designed based on local conditions, there are some general principles and practices that are applicable to Hawaii. Click here to read
Fresh Growth Podcast
Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as they tell their story and provide advice for young or beginning farmers.
Listen in as they tell their story and provide advice for young or beginning farmers.
2019/2020 Report from the Field
Report from the Field features 12 stories from around the country of recent SARE grantees who are finding new ways to improve the sustainability of U.S. agriculture. The report also summarizes our total investment in research and education projects since 1988. To read the full report click here
Cover Crop Economics
Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops looks at the economics of cover crops in corn and soybean rotations to help farmers answer that big question, when do cover crops pay? To watch the presentation on the report
Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawai'i. The goals of WSARE are:
  • Promote good stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities.
  • Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems.
  • Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.
  • Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.
For more information, please see: or contact Hawai'i WSARE co-coordinators 
This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.

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Mahalo nui loa,
Eric Collier Education Specialist and Managing Editor
Jari Sugano & Giselle Bryant Editors Emeritus and Reviewers
Ted Radovich Editor-in-Chief
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program 
Cooperative Extension Service 
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa
On-line version of newsletter as well as archived issues available at:  
CTAHR Sustainable and Organic Program
at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Dr. Theodore Radovich
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