Volume 52 October | November | December 2023

Providing science-based information to serve Hawaiʻi's Farming Community


The Food Provider

October | November | December 2023

Aloha Kākou


Welcome to the December 2023 issue of HānaiʻAi!


This issue features articles by University of Hawai'i researchers discussing topics such as Integrated Pest Management with the use of essential oils to manage the Coconut Rhinoserus Beetle, Soil Health and White Clover, exploring methods in sustainable Maile production, place-based learning at the Urban Garden Center with 4-H youth and more.

Please take a moment to browse new CTAHR publications, and get caught up with what is happening in the world of organic management at our Organic Corner. 


Make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter, which also feature Upcoming Workshops, Conferences, and Meetings.


You can always stay up to date with weekly agriculture related activities via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


As always, the mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for the dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaiʻi's farming community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.


On-line version of newsletter as well as archived issues available at:  Hānai'Ai Archives


Click Here to View as Webpage

Feature Farmer:

Jacob Tavares

Parker Ranch

Waimea, HI

Area Under Production: Today, Parker Ranch has 135,000 acres under production. I personally have been ranching full time since 2017, though coming from a ranching family I’ve had the privilege of raising cattle my whole life.


Years in Production in Hawaiʻi:In 2024, Parker Ranch will celebrate its 177th anniversary, making it the oldest business in Hawaii.


Crops grown, animals raised, and other goods and services? We have a fairly diverse set of business within the Parker Ranch portfolio, including our forestry division which focuses on reforestation efforts and the management of our existing forest resources. We are also a partners in Paniolo Hardwoods, the largest wood milling entity in Hawaii, allowing us to vertically integrate and maximize the value generated by our timber portfolio. We have a fairly extensive commercial land leasing business, and are working with Innergex Renewable Energy on the development of a 30MW Solar Project that will have the output capacity to power 20% of the Island of Hawaii’s baseload electricity requirements. We also offer tours of our historic homes, and guided hunts on the ranch for a variety of species through our Wildlife program. Agriculturally, we raise a large number of primarily black angus beef cattle, both for the domestic US market as well as for the Hawaii market. We also raise a few hundred horses at any given time, primarily used for internal cattle-work, though we do put on an annual horse auction each Labor Day weekend. 


Number of employees and/or family members involved in the operation?



Hot Tips: Farming and ranching bring out the best in all of us. Agricultural production is noble, needed, and fulfilling beyond words.




Mahalo nui loa to Jacob Tavares, Parker Ranch Business & Operations Manager

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Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawaiʻi's Researchers and Extension Professionals

Preliminary Trials on Use of Essential Oils for IPM of

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

Alberto Ricordi and Joshua Silva

Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences


Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros L., CRB) was first detected on Oʻahu in 2013 but since then has become a major pest of coconut and palm species. CRB eat the meristem (e.g., growing tissue) located in the middle of the palm crown, causing either leaf damage or possibly complete crown death. Management of CRB can take an integrated pest management (IPM) approach of various preventative, cultural, physical, biological, or chemical practices. Current management focuses on the palm tree to target adults with the use of

synthetic insecticide sprays, injections, or soil drenching. However, practices to control CRB can be limited for certain growers who do not use synthetic insecticides.

Essential oils have been reported in India to cause mortality of CRB larvae and adults.

Preliminary trials on Oʻahu indicated that essential oils have the potential to be used as an IPM practice for CRB management (Fig. 1). Below are results from preliminary trials for use of essential oil on CRB control.


Read full article

FMI:Alberto Ricordi


Akamai Cover Crop Mix (White clover, buckwheat, black oat): Does it benefit

soil health?

 Koon-Hui Wang1, Roshan Paudel1, Justin Mew1, and Joshua Silva2

Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences1, Department of Tropical Plant and

Soil Sciences2, University of Hawaii at Mānoa


 The advantage of introducing the perennial legume white clover (Trifolium repens) lies in its remarkable adaptability to diverse soil types and pH levels, although it thrives with sufficient soil moisture. Once established, its robust stolon and root system make it highly effective for erosion control and weed suppression, while its periodic mowing can reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer due to its efficient nitrogen-fixing capability. Specifically, the 'New Zealand' white clover variety demonstrates superior heat and drought tolerance, well-suited for locations troubled by slugs and snails. Despite initial reports suggesting its preference for higher elevations in Hawaii, it has successfully established at lower elevations without Rhizobium inoculum, as long as irrigation is provided. The innovative akamai cover crop mix, combining white clover with buckwheat and black oat, has been shown to assist in white clover establishment without herbicide use, albeit requiring approximately six months for full ground cover dominance. This project's objective is to evaluate whether the implementation of the akamai cover crop mix technique for white clover can enhance soil health when compared to areas of weedy fallow or bare ground through comprehensive monitoring of soil's physical, chemical, and biological properties, with a focus on nematodes as bioindicators.


Read Full Article Article

FMI: Koon-Hui Wang

Sustaining Maile Production (Alyxia oliviformis)

Pono Chung¹, Alberto Ricordi² and Jari Sugano¹

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

¹Oʻahu County, ² Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences


There's a rising consumer interest and commercial demand for Maile, a culturally significant vine or shrub deeply rooted in Hawaiian traditions, particularly in lei making and found in the lush wet forest areas of Hawaii. Traditionally associated with the goddess of hula and the forest, Laka, Maile holds historical reverence and was esteemed by Hawaiian royalty, often used in heiau altars and hula performances to honor Laka. Today, Maile continues to be a symbol of celebration, gracing events like weddings, building blessings, graduations, birthdays, and various joyous occasions. Recognizing the importance of safeguarding Maile in its native forest habitat, efforts are underway to cultivate it sustainably to meet the growing market demand without overexploiting native resources. Building on Tanabe's (1982) work, which demonstrated successful propagation of 2-year-old Maile through specific cutting techniques and plant auxins, such as indolebutyric acid (IBA) and naphthaleneacetic (NAA), the goal is to find innovative cultivation methods while ensuring the preservation of this culturally significant plant.


Read full article

FMI: Jari Sugano

Placed-Based Learning in the Garden

Christine Hanakawa, Tina Lau, Jessica Higashi


Place-based learning is a student-centered instructional approach that involves immersing students in non-classroom environments, like parks, museums, or outdoor landscapes such as gardens, using these experiences as the foundation for lessons (Fester, James, National Geographic Education Blog, 2020). The Urban Garden Center (UGC) in Pearl City serves as an ideal location for a place-based learning project, particularly the 4-H Project Garden. This outdoor setting offers students a spacious environment to engage in a hands-on project, fostering collaboration among peers and allowing them to apply prior learning to create functional food gardens. By utilizing the UGC for place-based learning activities, students not only participate in real-life projects but also develop a deeper understanding of standards-based curriculum, connecting theoretical knowledge with practical experiences in a meaningful way.



Read full article

FMI: Christine Hanakawa

Other CTAHR Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production systems 

CTAHR Publications

Organic Corner + University of Hawai'i Organic Transition (UHOT)

Pesticide Use in Organic Agriculture

Pesticide use in organic farming is very different than in other forms of agriculture. Certified organic producers are required by law to use cultural practices and other preventative measures before utilizing a shorter list of pesticides than those allowed for other production systems. All organic-compliant pesticides, including those active ingredients on the EPA minimum risk list, are “restricted” in certified organic production, which means they are only used after other approaches fail. Organic growers use preventative practices to create a diverse ecosystem as a first line of defense against pests, such as:


  • Using well-adapted, disease resistant varieties, and providing the optimum amount of water and fertilizer, sunlight, etc. 
  • Building organic matter in the soil using a combination of practices including cover crops, compost and reduced tillage where possible. 
  • Maintaining flowering plants (including weeds, cover crops, herbs etc.) to attract beneficial insects. 
  • Rotating crops to prevent the buildup of pests and disease.


If pest pressure builds despite the growers best efforts, organic-compliant pesticides may be used according to their label. Compliant pesticides are often indicated by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) label, although products do not have to be OMRI-listed to be compliant. Like all other pesticides, those that are allowed in organic production must be used in accordance with their label, including wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), following the Re-entry Interval (REI) and mitigating potential environmental hazards (e.g. avoiding pollinator exposure to pyrethrin-based pesticides).

Commercial organic systems are seldom “pesticide free.” However, certified organic farms are purposely designed by growers and inspected annually by independent agencies to reduce the need for, and the restrict use of, agricultural pesticides beyond what is required for other types of agriculture. For more information please see:


Organic 101: Allowed and Prohibited Substances



The Allowed Use of Commercial Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Synthetic Substances on U.S. Farms Under the USDA National Organic Program



The Costs of “Organic” Insecticides



HFUU is looking for both interested farmer participants and for experienced mentors. It has been decided to roll out the program statewide and HFUU is seeking applicants from all islands! There has been a lot of interest in the program and we thought it would be best to roll things out as quickly as possible.


Please reach out to organictransitions@hfuu.org and we will get you an application! Once you are signed up as an interested farmer, the Project Coordinator will get you the application form.  Once it has been returned, there will be an initial interview to learn more about your farming operation before being paired with a mentor to begin your journey to becoming an organic farming operation!


Transition to Organic Partnership Program


The Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is an initiative aimed at supporting farmers and agricultural businesses in their journey towards transitioning from conventional farming methods to organic practices. The primary objectives of the program are to promote sustainable farming, increase organic production, enhance ecosystem health, and to support the viability of family farms in Hawaii.


The TOPP grant is a nationwide program and  is a part of the USDA initiative to support the organic agriculture sector. The USDA is investing 300 million dollars over the next five years to support various areas of the organic sector. This is monumental since it is the first time that there has been a significant amount of resources for organic farming through the USDA.


Hawaii Partners: The HFUU is one of three Hawaii partners for the TOPP grant. Each of the three Hawaii partners are responsible for different aspects of the TOPP grant: HFUU - Mentorship, training, and outreach, University of Hawaii CTAHR - Technical Assistance and Resources,  MAO Organic Farms - Workforce Development and Field days. All three of the Hawaii partners are working in collaboration to help promote organic farming in Hawaii!  


Program Overview: Farmers will be matched with a mentor to help guide them on the steps to transitioning to a certified organic operation through 90 hours of mentorship over a two year period. Mentors will be experts in the field and will provide guidance on farming practices, methods of management, record keeping and the application process. There are available resources to help make the transition (i.e. soil tests and similar) as well as a $500 stipend per farmer. Mentors will need to have a minimum of three years of experience of working in a certified organic operation and will be compensated on an hourly rate.


Who should apply? HFUU is seeking all interested farmers whether you are in crop production, livestock, value added, or wild harvest. Must have a desire to make the transition to certified organic and should be actively farming. New farmers are also encouraged to apply if they are planning on becoming a certified organic operation.


How to become involved: If you are interested in participating as a farmer or becoming a mentor, please reach out to Christian Zuckerman at organictransitions@hfuu.org.


For New Farmers

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Benefits for Crop Insurance


Beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for certain benefits designed to help as you start your operation. These benefits include:

  • Exemption from paying the administrative fee for catastrophic and additional coverage policies;
  • Additional 10 percentage points of premium subsidy for additional coverage policies that have premium subsidy;
  • Use of the previous producer’s production history, with permission, for the specific acreage transferred to you if you were previously involved in the decision making or physical activities on any farm that produced the crop or livestock; and
  • An increase in the substitute Yield Adjustment, which allows you to replace a low yield due to an insured cause of loss, from 60 to 80 percent of the applicable transitional yield (T-Yield).


Click here FMI



Small business is a vital part of Hawai‘i's economy. Are you thinking of being your own boss and starting your own business? What do you need to know before investing time and money in your idea? Learn the essentials of how to form and operate a legal business in Hawaiʻi.



- Entrepreneurship

- Key Ingredients for business success

- Steps involved in starting your business

Speaker(s): Judi Mellon, East Hawaiʻi Senior Business Advisor



This is a non-refundable workshop unless the event is canceled by the Hawaiʻi SBDC network. Registration is required at our website www.hisbdc.org prior to the event. If payment is not received at the time of registration, it will be canceled automatically.


Click here to register


North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership (NSEVP)

is now recruiting for their next training cohort, accepting applications from farms around the Hawaiian Islands.

Training content will be offered in Mandarin and English, with one-on-one assistance from Mandarin speaking interpreters. 

Financial support is also available for farmers on Maui. 

For more information, watch this informational webinar or email lisa@nsevp.org


The deadline to submit an application is January 12th, 2024. Applications can be found in English and Mandarin. 

The Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative announced a new funding opportunity for farmers across Hawaiʻi looking to begin or expand agroforestry operations! These incentive funds will be dispersed up-front before any installation activities occur, and technical assistance will be provided to support selected applicants’ project planning and implementation.


The aim of this program is to catalyze expansion of agroforestry practices in commercial agriculture operations to help save farmers money and increase their income while benefiting the environment and mitigating climate change through tree planting. 


The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and partners are launching this 5-year project to catalyze the agroforestry industry and facilitate the transition to more climate-friendly agriculture.


The Expanding Agroforestry Project is funded through the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities (CSC) initiative. In 2022, the USDA announced more than $3.1 billion in funding for 141 projects, including $60 million for this national agroforestry project. The overarching project goal is to add 30,000 new acres of agroforestry across 30 states while creating a network of demonstration sites. The project is also prioritizing a portion of funds to help producers from under-served populations.


To learn more, click here.

To apply, click here.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs can get in-person support at the Coworking Hub on the second Wednesday of each month from the City's Resource Connector team.

Get referrals for help with government contracting, connecting with accelerator programs, social media and marketing, how to import or export goods, and more. A full list of services is below. 

Appointments are free! If you’re a startup that has been operating for less than 24 months, or if you are an existing business, make an appointment for in-person support now!



  • Exploring Government Contracting
  • Agricultural Support Services
  • Energy Rebates
  • Help Navigating City Processes
  • Connecting with Accelerator Programs
  • Buying or Selling a Business
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Importing/Exporting
  • Veteran-Owned Business Assistance


Schedule Your Appointment:

The Coworking Hub Location:

1050 Queen St. Suite #100, Honolulu, HI 96814


Garden with the Master Gardener

Little Fire Ant on O‘ahu - Not in my neighborhood!

Prepared by Claris Olson, Master Gardener Class of 2023, 

Tina Lau, O‘ahu Master Gardener Coordinator


How many times have we looked at a weed patch gone out of control or an invasive tree that has grown to 30 feet or more and we say to ourselves, “If only had done something when …” Well, we are at that moment on Oahu with Little Fire Ants (LFA). However, the stakes are much higher and this pest problem will not be as easy to solve. Anyone who knows the painful sting of LFA understands that an infestation could fundamentally change how we and our families spend our time outdoors. LFA stings have caused blindness in animals when stung repeatedly in the eye and can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic individuals. According to the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group, LFA is on a list of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.


Read full article here

FMI: Tina Lau

FYI & Events

Grow Eat Think Local: A Healthy Food System for Healthy People

Food Systems Forums


The CTAHR Food Systems Working Group Forums aim to highlight and connect projects and project leaders in a variety of fields within the food system. Faculty and community members involved or interested in food systems related work come together to identify strengths and gaps in food systems endeavors, and to identify key outcomes and indicators to be tracked over time.


"The Food Systems Working Group envisioned the idea of these quarterly forums as an experiment in creating more opportunities to increase awareness of ongoing projects and programs by sharing briefly about our work efforts and passions. Through Forum discussions, the goal is to foster more communication and collaboration among folks with related interests leading to synergies like greater impact and innovative ideas to address some of the many challenges we are facing collectively around food and the environment." – Emilie Kirk


To get connected to GET Local Food Systems Forum click here


View more video clips on the GET Local You Tube Channel. Additional information on the food systems efforts within the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is available on the Food Systems webpage.

Agribusiness Development Corporation Opens 3,100+ Acres for Growing Food Production in Hawaiʻi

In a recent press release, the Hawaiʻi Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) has unveiled a new webpage showcasing its comprehensive statewide portfolio, featuring currently available lands for lease. The webpage aims to serve as a platform for prospective farmers and ranchers, encouraging dialogue on business growth and economic development within their communities. Wendy Gady, the Executive Director of ADC, expressed the board's aspiration to engage with new and younger individuals in the agricultural sector, fostering a collaborative conversation on shaping the future of Hawai‘i's ag industry. Gady emphasized the ADC board's commitment to inclusivity, actively seeking Expressions of Interest from individuals across the state to fulfill their goal of serving the entirety of Hawai‘i. To explore the available lands, you can visit the dedicated webpage Link

GoFarm Events


Livestock Wala'au: Livestock Podcast


Livestock Wala'au podcast presented by the University of Hawaiʻi College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. This podcast serves as a way for the livestock community to connect, talk story, and learn.


Listen to the Podcast

Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United (HFUU) membership


Why Be A Member of Hawai’i Farmers Union United (HFUU)? HFUU is all about supporting the family farmer and putting Hawai'i back on track to a safe and secure food future. The mission of HFUU is to collectively create food security, food sovereignty, and rebuild our ʻāina for a better future. Visit their website to learn how to become a member.

Environmental Management Graduate Student Destiny Apilado is seeking producers to take her survey to better understand the current climate of access to supportive agricultural resources. 


Participation in surveys like this one is important to accurately grasp how resources can be improved for agricultural producers.


Destiny is also seeking opportunities to meet with producers in-person.


Email her at dmapilad@hawaii.edu if you're interested. 


Fill out the survey here.

Organic Market Development Grants


Eligible applicants for Organic Market Development grants include business entities (regardless of legal structure) who produce or handle organic foods. Producer and handler applicants must either be certified to the USDA organic standards or in transition to organic certification, consistent with 7 C.F.R. §205. Such applicants must be registered in the Organic INTEGRITY Database before the date of the Notice of Award.  


This program will support the development of new and expanded organic markets by providing additional resources for businesses transitioning to organic or initiating new organic production and processing capacity. These investments in certified organic infrastructure, expanding capacity for aggregation, processing,[1] manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, distribution, or consumer markets, and supporting activities which develop new markets, are anticipated to increase demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and provide additional market paths.


Click here for more information

USDA Farm to School Grant Program request for applications


The USDA Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program is designed to help implement farm to school programming to increase access to local food in eligible schools, connect children with agriculture for improved health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture. For more information and to apply, visit the program’s website. Applications are due by Friday, January 12, 2024.

Mahi ‘Ai Business Loan

Office of Hawaiian Affairs introduces new Mahi ʻAi Agricultural Loan Program

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund is introducing a new program this month to support Native Hawaiian farmers on Hawaiʻi Island and across Hawaiʻi. In addition to low interest rates, new borrowers have the option of deferring their loan payments for the first six months without incurring additional interest. For more information on the Mahi ʻAi Agricultural Loan Program, visit their website, email NHRLF@ohaloanfund.org, or call the OHA office in East Hawaiʻi (Hilo) at (808) 933-3106 or West Hawaiʻi (Kona) at (808) 327-9525.


Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

SARE is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture that provides competitive grants and educational materials. Our grants programs are conducted cooperatively by farmers, ranchers, researchers, and ag professionals to advance farm and ranch systems that are profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities.

The SARE grant program mission is to advance innovations that improve profitability, stewardship, and quality of life in American agriculture by investing in groundbreaking research and education. To achieve that, Western SARE believes that our programs must include the involvement of agricultural producers from inception to finish, and therefore we require producer involvement in the planning, design, implementation, and educational outreach of any funded project.


Western SARE Goals

• Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional, and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fiber needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve soil,

water, energy, natural resources, and fish and wildlife habitat; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water.


• Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities, for example, by increasing income and employment, especially profitable self-employment and innovative marketing opportunities in agricultural and rural communities.


• Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems by reducing, where feasible and practical, the use of toxic materials in agricultural production, and by optimizing on-farm resources and integrating, where appropriate, biological cycles 

and controls.


• Promote crop, livestock, and enterprise diversification.


• Examine the regional, economic, social, and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

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 Hawaiʻi's farming community.


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Mahalo nui loa,


Eric Collier Education Specialist and Managing Editor

Amjad Ahmad, Kylie Tavares & Emilie Kirk Co-Reviewers

Sharon Wages Jensen Uyeda WSARE Content Reviewers

Theodor Radovich Editor-in-Chief


Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program

Cooperative Extension Service

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources


On-line version of newsletter as well as archived issues available at:  



Hawai‘i Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution providing programs and services to the people of Hawai‘i without regard to race, sex, gender identity and expression, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, arrest and court record, sexual orientation, or status as a covered veteran.


Eric Collier | Education Specialist, Social Media & Web Manager | colliere@hawaii.edu

Copyright ©2013 University of Hawai‘i - College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Updated 4 Nov, 2021

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