2018 University of Hawaii PDP Project

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $39,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: University of Hawaii
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
State Coordinator:
Jensen Uyeda
University of Hawaii


  • Agronomic: sugarcane
  • Vegetables: beans, carrots, greens (leafy), sweet corn, sweet potatoes, taro, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: coffee


  • Crop Production: agroforestry, alley cropping, beekeeping, catch crops, conservation tillage, cover crops, crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, crop rotation, fertigation, fertilizers, food product quality/safety, intercropping, irrigation, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, seed saving
  • Education and Training: extension, focus group, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: mulches - general, physical control, precision herbicide use, prevention, row covers (for pests)
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    a) Topic(s): Local fertilizer recommendations, vegetable variety evaluations, soil health, pest management, food safety and others as identified by CES and NRCS stakeholders.
    b) Context, Justification and Assumptions:
    Awareness and adoption of sustainable agriculture practices is increasing within the State of Hawaii, and has been growing exponentially over recent years. According to the Kathy King, Hawaii’s Agricultural Statistician, USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service, organic agriculture practices are being implemented on $3,505 acres with 166 farms participating in the 2014 Organic Production Survey. Exempt growers who farm less than $5,000 in total
    organic sales are not required to be certified under the USDA National Organic Rule, so the total industry value is currently unknown.
    The 2014 Organic Production Survey conducted by the USDA NASS provides evidence of continued grower adoption of sustainable agricultural production practices such as organic mulch/compost, green/animal manures, no till or minimum till, maintained buffer strips, water management practices, biological pest management, maintaining beneficial insect or vertebrate habitat, selecting planting locations to avoid pests, releasing beneficial organisms,
    choosing pest resistant varieties, and planning plantings to avoid cross-contamination; which is applicable and carried over onto non-organically certified crop lands.
    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. A recent assessment of twenty eight (28) agricultural professionals who represent organizations such as CTAHR (CES agents/specialists), USDA NRCS, Soil and Water
    Conservationists, consultants, farmers/ranchers, and other state/federal agencies in Hawaiʻi prioritized the top issues for the 2016-2017 Hawaiʻi WSARE PDP to be: 1) Pest Management, 2) Plant / Soil Nutrition, and 3) Food Safety. HI WSARE PDP educational initiatives will be focused around these topics for 2017-2018.
    The Hawaii State WSARE Professional Development Program (HI WSARE PDP)’s advisory committee advises the HI WSARE PDP program. The committee is given an annual opportunity to review the grant proposal and annual report for Hawaii WSARE PDP program and their comments are given heavy consideration in pursuing WSARE PDP grant funding and its annual report. HI WSARE PDP advisory members are also integrated into the execution of its annual HI WSARE PDP AG PRO educational conference when feasible and appropriate.
    Due to the geographic and cost constraints of providing continuous, face to face, statewide professional development programs for agricultural professionals, we are continuously challenged to think outside our specialties and leverage trans-disciplinary partnerships, when possible. In 2015, ninety-six (96%) percent of extension and USDA NRCS program participants indicated that the Hawaiʻi WSARE PDP trainings are valuable to their work. In addition,
    ninety percent (90%) of responders were in favor of Hawaiʻi WSARE PDP program leaders continuing to apply, conduct, and administer WSARE PDP education workshops, travel scholarships, and social media technology transfer. Its worth noting that fifty-six (56%) percent of participants indicated that travel scholarships are still necessary for their participation and attendance. Field demonstrations, farm tours and focused workshops were the top educational delivery channels requested for current and future educational programming.
    The Hawaiʻi WSARE PDP “AgPro” is a once a year educational event which is held at different locations around the Hawaiian island chain. Our needs assessment survey instrument also validated and reinforced Hawaiʻi  WSARE’s commitment to supporting CTAHR Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program's (SOAP) web based updates via its HānaiʻAi newsletter and various social media outputs. We have incorporated these comments and recommendations into this year’s WSARE PDP plan of action.
    c) Stakeholder and Partner Involvement: In addition to our support from UH Cooperative Extension and the Pacific Basic NRCS, the Hawaii WSARE program relies on extensive involvement and input from local farmers and ranchers, non-profit organizations (e.g. Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Association of Organic Farmers, Hawaii Farmers Union, etc.), Community Colleges (Windward, Leeward, Kaua’i, Maui, Moloka’i, Hawaii, Hilo), and local agricultural consultants.
    Frequent field visits to growers and agricultural professionals statewide, and regular attendance at industry group meetings by the PDP coordinators informs and guides decision making. Targeted surveys and workshop feedback co-coordinated by WSARE Hawaii PDP coordinators and staff provide additional guidance for development of program activities. Examples of events and activities from which feedback has been collected from a broad-based of stakeholders include:
    See https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/soap/Events/PastEvents.aspx for event details
    • 2016 NACAA Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference
    • Organic Field Day
    • Oahu County, UH Cooperative Extension Service Needs Assessment
    • Statewide Cacao Survey
    • UH Climate Change Survey
    • UH Climate Change Survey
    • Statewide Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) Survey
    • Statewide AG PRO Needs Assessment for HI WSARE PDP Program
    • Statewide Improving Network Technology for Extension Professionals
    • Statewide Soil Health Survey
    • Statewide Cacao Survey
    • Waimanalo Learning Center, Community Based Survey
    • Statewide Forestry Stewardship Survey
    • Statewide Cacao Industry Survey
    • Hawai'i State PDP Advisory Committee feedback to Hawaii state PDP report.
    • Hawai'i Agricultural Professional Survey of needs for organic producers.
    • Statewide Chilli Pepper Survey
    • Statewide Survey of Agriculture and Natural Resource CES agents
    • Hana’ai Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter readership statewide survey
    • Hawai'i State PDP Advisory Committee feedback to Hawaii state PDP report.
    • Hawai'i State PDP Advisory Committee feedback to Hawaii state PDP report 2011
    • Hana’ai Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter readership statewide survey
    • CTAHR/USDA Research update evaluations
    • Integrated Crop and Livestock Management evaluations.
    • Survey of Agriculture and Natural Resource CES agents.
    • Hawai’i Grower-Retailer Interface meeting
    • Hawaii Organic Industry Analysis

    This is the sixth year we have integrated feedback from the WSARE PDP advisory committee into the application.

    The WSARE PDP advisory committee informs and advises the Hawaii WSARE PDP coordinators of their need for industry support based on their involvement with their multi-diciplinary stakeholders. For a list of 2017-2018 advisory committee members, see: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/sustainag/adv-comm.html
    Based on results from stakeholder and advisory member engagements described above, ongoing and increased emphasis in the 2017-2018 training period are expected to be placed on the following topics:
    • Water Resources and Irrigation Water Management
    • Food Safety
    • Reduced reliance on imported inputs for plant and soil health
    • Fruit tree / organic seed production
    • Added educational opportunities in new food safety regulations
    • Protected environment (e.g. screen house) production
    • Improved dissemination of information directly to growers
    • Improving agricultural professionals’ capacity to serve new and beginning farmers
    d) Inputs: In addition to WSARE funding, the project will engage and leverage the staff time of at least 10 CTAHR faculty (extension agents, specialists and researchers), 6 farmer cooperators, and 3 nongovernmental organizations to help prepare and deliver the training. We will use CTAHR’s meeting facilities and video network capabilities of CTAHR statewide. CTAHR experiment stations will be available for related field tours on each island. Presenters
    will volunteer their time and equipment.
    e) Outputs
    1) Target Audience: (20+9) CES, (15) NRCS, (3) Extension Faculty, (2) PDP coordinators, (3) NGOs, (20) Farmers/Ranchers, (20) Youth educators, (2) Consultants
    2) Activities and Methods:
    We propose to use WSARE PDP funding in support of our flagship, WSARE PDP workshops that targets Extension, USDA NRCS personnel and other agricultural professionals to network and attend presentations on projects and activities that improve their knowledge on identified priority subjects. These workshops will be similar in format to those supported in previous years, which participant’s indicate are of value to them. In 2016, we partnered with the Western Region, National Association of County Extension Agent to offer an agricultural
    professional improvement conference in Kona, Hawaii. In 2017, we aim to incorporate more small to medium size local producers into our programming based on input from our advisory board.
    For examples from recent WSARE PDP sponsored event, see:
    We will continue to support CES agent travel, to allow agents to attend meetings relevant to their stakeholders. We will also collaborate with local teams of extension agents and NRCS staff on each island for design and delivery of the in-depth training programs on topics related to optimizing plant and soil health in integrated cropping systems.
    Examples of supported 2016 activities can be found here:
    We will continue to maximize our limited resources for training CES and NRCS staff by:
    (1) Using existing video conferencing technology to broadcast classroom lecture-style presentations to neighbor islands, i.e. Zoom
    (2) Distributing our training materials on-line (https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/soap/HOME.aspx) and/or hard copies,
    (3) Providing honoraria for local farmers to serve as co-presenters (when feasible), and
    (4) Providing travel funds for presenters to travel to neighbor islands for follow up physical field days and field tours.

    3) Products: We will utilize the WSARE’s PDP funds to conduct one annual professional development program at a revolving site which will support:

    (1) coordination and the travel expenses for speakers and interested participants,
    (2) partial staff & program support for team organization (Zoom meetings, survey monkey for needs assessments, report writing, etc), fee based electronic media (website, e-newsletter, SurveyMonkey) and (3) free social media efforts (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube).
    Electronic publications continue to be one of our best investments for information & technology delivery due to geographic and scheduling issues. Information and handouts from WSARE/ SOAP’s agricultural professional workshops will be posted on-line, post event for participants to review and for those who could not make the event. An unanticipated program product often derived from these educational events is new collaborative partnerships
    between local farmer presenters, agents and extension and USDA NRCS field staff.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Outcomes: Increased food self-sufficiency and security is a priority for a state which relies on 85-90% of imports as its primary food source. Approximately 90% of our local producers farm on less than 50 acres, based on the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Seventy-eight percent of farms in Hawaii gross less than 25K a year. Therefore, we aim to increase the productivity and efficiency of the small to medium scale farm operations in Hawaii in 2017 as our contribution towards increased food security and reduced import dependence for our island state.

    The 2016-2017 HI WSARE PDP AG PRO is the flagship program of the Hawaii WSARE PDP program. Cuttingedge updates on a wide array of sustainable agriculture topics and a second day dedicated to field based observations relevant to the sustainability of Hawaii and Pacific Island farms will be organized around priority topics.

    In 2016, nine new junior extension agents were actively recruited for hire at UH CTAHR. We will use WSARE PDP funding to create beginning to intermediate level training materials and hold an annual AG PRO workshops to increase CES/NRCS awareness and knowledge, improve CES/NRCS skills and heighten our capacity to provide educational programs, that may lead to changes in CES/NRCS educator and stakeholder behavior. The funding from WSARE PDP will provide for networking opportunities in addition to educational programming which is critical for the sustainability and advancement of the Hawaii’s Cooperative Extension Service as well.
    Overall, ongoing assistance from WSARE PDP will allow 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.

    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.