SARE State Plan for Hawaii 2021 PDP

Progress report for WHI21-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2023
Host Institution Award ID: G383-21-W8618
Grant Recipient: University of Hawaii
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
State Coordinators:
Jensen Uyeda
University of Hawaii
Co-Coordinators:
Sharon Motomura-Wages
Univerity of Hawaii
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) remains committed to conducting annual professional development educational opportunities for agricultural professionals (AG PRO) in cooperation with WSARE, on evidence based, sustainable agricultural practices. The WSARE PDP program allows us to continue servicing and educating agricultural professionals in advancing sustainable agricultural practices which are in line with WSARE’s goals in advancing stewardship of the island’s natural resources by providing site-specific, sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthens agricultural competitiveness; satisfies human food and fiber needs, maintain, conserve, enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve water, energy, natural resources, and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water. We anticipate providing agricultural professionals and producers with the technologies, skills and competencies to increase on farm productivity and efficiency; safeguard human, farm, biological and natural resources; reduce unnecessary crop and chemical inputs; and improve the overall quality of life of Hawaii’s farmers and agricultural communities through education, outreach, and applied research.

Project Objectives:

Based on results from stakeholder and advisory member engagements, ongoing and increased emphasis in the 2021-2023 training period are expected to be placed on the following topics:

  • Reduced reliance on imported inputs for plant and soil health
  • Seed saving and distribution/exchange
  • Fruit tree / organic seed production
  • Protected environment (e.g. screen house) production
  • Improved dissemination of information directly to growers
  • Improving agricultural professionals’ capacity to serve new and beginning farmers
  • Crop Livestock integration 
  • Sustainable rangeland management 

Advisors

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  • Dr. Amjad Ahmad - Technical Advisor (Educator and Researcher)
  • Emilie Kirk - Technical Advisor (Educator)
  • Dr. Theodore Radovich - Technical Advisor (Educator and Researcher)
  • Joshua Silva - Technical Advisor (Educator)
  • Kylie Tavares - Technical Advisor (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

Hawaii is geographically isolated from the continental US as well as within the states counties.  This makes it challenging for Ag professionals to access educational opportunities nationwide.  Our program increases access to local and national educational opportunities through travel scholarships and program support. We also bring in outside topic expertise to the state to provide local ag professionals with vital information to help increase their capacity to promote sustainable agriculture.  

The project also provides a statewide annual training to update ag professionals on some of the technological improvements in agriculture to help them stay relevant.  The education training provides a day of formal education presented by topic experts and followed by farm visits to expose ag professionals to the diversity of agricultural production systems being utilized around the state.

The project has also implemented a mini grant program to help support cross training and enhance Ag professionals capacity to promote stainable agriculture and service their clientele groups.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Disseminating research based information in Hawaii
Objective:

Provide agricultural professionals and producers with the technologies, skills and competencies to increase on farm productivity and efficiency.

Description:

The Hawaii WSARE PDP activities focused on disseminating research based information to support the top five priority areas identified by Hawaii’s agricultural professionals in the HI WSARE Needs Assessment Survey: 1) Pest Management, 2) Creating Educational Videos, 3) Produce Quality, 4) Web based Media to Reach Clientele, and 5) Agricultural Technologies such as drones, precision ag, applications, etc. Previous PDP events have been heavily focused on edible crop production systems and soil / conservation related topics. Minority votes on priority subjects included request for livestock and technology use in animal production. Focused workshops, field demonstrations, farm tours, PowerPoint/lecture slides, face to face interaction, agent sharing and integration of the latest technology were the top ranked methods of information delivery for professional development trainings. Information obtained from the SOAP Needs Assessment helped to formulate our agenda.

Outcomes and impacts:

Educational programs that allow participants to learn more about evidence based and localized sustainable and organic practices is vital to our continued success in changing agricultural practices in an island state. One hundred percent of participants indicated that the event helped them learn new skills and also indicated a modification in their opinions and attitudes towards the educational topics offered. Covid has also forced a shift on how trainings and services are provided which has led to an increased virtual or digital platform for disseminating educational information. 

Distance education programs
Objective:

Provide educational opportunities to participants in remote location.

Description:

Due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19 many educational opportunities were cancelled or postponed. To adapt to these challenges output techniques were modified to allow for remote or virtually based workshops and demonstrations.  Many platforms are available for the virtual dissemination of information. One of the more common platforms for visual education is zoom. This platform allows for social distancing while still allowing for transfer of information.  The project has been using this platform to conduct educational workshops in place of in person events. The project is also working on a digital database of crop production information for both Ag professionals and growers to use to help improve access to geographically specific information.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants indicated that this platform was appropriate for the topics being presented. Participants also indicated that the information learned through zoom is directly related to their clientele and production systems. This platform has also allowed the project to reach clientele groups that my have normally  been excluded due to remote geographic locations. The project has been using this platform to conduct educational workshops in place of in person events. The project is also working on a digital database of crop production information for both Ag professionals and growers to use to help improve access to geographically specific information.

Educational & Outreach Activities

33 Consultations
6 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
3 On-farm demonstrations
21 Online trainings
4 Published press articles, newsletters
3 Tours
2 Travel Scholarships
6 Webinars / talks / presentations
35 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

14 Extension
3 Researchers
55 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

65 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
13 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
1 New working collaboration

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The project team is grateful to SARE/USDA for supporting the limited resources available in Hawaii and making it easy for the project team to reach out to wider range of areas and growers throughout the state of Hawaii.

The SARE logo, publications, and funding sources were/are mentioned in all the events used the project funds.  

45 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
13 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.