SARE State Program Plan for Hawaii

Final report for WSP19-018

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $47,250.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2023
Host Institution Award ID: G285-21-W7905
Grant Recipient: University of Hawaii
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
State Coordinators:
Jensen Uyeda
University of Hawaii
Sharon Wages
Univerity of Hawaii
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Project Information


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 2019-2020 training period are expected to be placed on the following topics:

  • Reduced reliance on imported inputs for plant and soil health
  • 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


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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.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Disseminating research based information in Hawaii

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


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.

Now that restrictions from the COVID pandemic have been reduced, we were able to host our annual flagship AgPro workshop, which is one main event that helps bring extension professionals from the different Hawaiian islands together to develop skills that help them better address clientele needs. In 2021, we hosted our first in-person AgPro event on Oahu in partnership with the Western Extension Risk Management Program to bring in expertise on engaging the adult learner so that our extension agents have additional tools to help engage their clientele in their respective fields. In 2022, We held our second AgPro event in Hilo and focused on developing skills in diagnosing pests and diseases. In 2023, we held our AgPro event on Kauai. We partnered with the University of Idaho Extension faculty to learn about their Integrated Pest Management training tool, which has applications for youth and adult learners.

Distance education programs

Provide educational opportunities to participants in remote location.


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.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants indicated that this platform was appropriate for the topics being presented. Participants also suggested 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 may have normally been excluded due to remote geographic locations.

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

633 Consultations
12 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Journal articles
30 On-farm demonstrations
35 Online trainings
16 Published press articles, newsletters
11 Tours
30 Travel Scholarships
23 Webinars / talks / presentations
75 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

25 Extension
7 Researchers
6 Agency
333 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

5 Grants received that built upon this project
3 New working collaborations
3 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers

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 a 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 using the project funds.  

270 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
32 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.