American AgCredit pledges $2 million to support GoFarm Hawai‘i

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    GoFarm Hawai‘i student Jessica Hyde puts in sage plants at her farm at the Kaua‘i Community College site.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    GoFarm Hawai‘i student Ron O’Brien repairs a portion of drip irrigation on his plot at the Kaua‘i Community College site.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    GoFarm Hawai‘i student Keila Santaella gets ready to plant green onion seedlings in her ‘farm’ at the Kaua‘i Community College site.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    GoFarm Hawai‘i student Jessica Hyde checks the screen and the arugula starts at the Kaua‘i Community College site.

LIHU‘E — The American AgCredit pledge of $2 million over a five-year period is good for Hawai‘i as a state, said Eric Hanson, the GoFarm Hawai‘i Kaua‘i program coordinator.

The donation which is the combined contributions of the American AgCredit and CoBank, both members of the nationwide Farm Credit System, was announced at the start of February to support GoFarm Hawai‘i that has been described as one of the largest and most successful beginning farmer development programs in the nation.

“GoFarm Hawai‘i does not get any direct benefit from this,” Hanson said. “This is an investment in food production and a strong belief in Hawai‘i agriculture. At GoFarm Hawai‘i, we teach people to become agricultural entrepreneurs, not just growers.”

The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa provides business technical assistance, educational opportunities, and access to a suite of resources designed to remove barriers to farming and agribusiness, states the announcement. GoFarm Hawai‘i operates five beginning farmer training sites across four islands and an agricultural technician training program at the Waiawa Correctional Facility.

“Food sustainability and economic diversification are key post-pandemic priorities for our state,” said UH President David Lassner. “Many of the GoFarm Hawai‘i program’s alumni have started independent businesses or secured jobs in the agricultural industry. This strategic philanthropic investment from AAC provides a major boost to our state’s next generation of farmers and our agricultural community statewide.”

The Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan has a goal of doubling local food production by 2030.

“Hawai‘i imports about 85 to 90% of its food, making it particularly vulnerable to disruptions in food supply,” said CTAHR Dean Nicholas Comerford. “Our GoFarm Hawai‘i program addresses this by providing farmers with the tools they need to be successful, and expanding our local food supply — a necessity for our entire community.”

AAC President and CEO Curt Hudnutt said American AgCredit’s mission to support all segments of agriculture is closely aligned to that of GoFarm Hawai‘i.

“We are thrilled to be able to support the great work GoFarm Hawai‘i has been doing for nearly 20 years,” Hudnutt said. “This commitment is just a perfect fit for us.”

The GoFarm Hawai‘i program is financially supported by competitive grants and private donations, including support from Kamehameha Schools, the Ulupono Initiative, USDA, NIFA, and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

“We are extremely grateful for American AgCredit and CoBank’s support of our practical training program built around the real-world needs of tomorrow’s farmers,” said GoFarm Hawai‘i director Janel Yamamoto. “With their support and the support of other key partners, we can help experienced farmers looking to expand and needing assistance to develop a business plan or proposal, as well as people new to agriculture wanting to learn the basics of farming.”

Additional GoFarm Hawai‘i supporters and collaborators include the Kaua‘i Community College, the UH Maui College, Corteva Agriscience, CTAHR Cooperative Extension, HI!Ag Consortium, UH Sea Granat, The Kohala Center, Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety, City and County of Honolulu, County of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i County Office of Economic Development, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, O‘ahu Resource Conservation &Development Council, the North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership, Farm Link Hawai‘i, Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i, Ho‘ola Veteran Services, Sustainable Moloka‘i, and the Hawai‘i Agritourism Association.

2 Comments
  1. Grow Farmers February 9, 2021 5:45 am Reply

    Congratulations to Go Farm and Eric Hanson for all the hard work you are doing teaching people to be not only competent but also financially successful farmers.

    We recently watched the Go Farm in back of Kaua’i Community College start new crops from tilling the soil to what looks like now maybe fifty 100’ rows of food already edible for some of the types of crops, and the rest of the rows teeming. with food plants.

    It’s beautiful to see, and amazing what Eric Hanson has taught the adult students to do in such a short period of time over a few months.

    We understand Eric teaches Zoom classes to these beginning farmers in the evening.

    We’re hoping this new money into Go Farm will expand the amount of students but also the amount of farm land available to increase plant based farming on Kauai, adding to the availability of food at the Farmers’ Markets on island but also local grown foods at our supermrkets.

    It seems so mich more appropriate to have our plant based foods grown on Kauai instead of bringing our food all the way from California, Mexico, and even South Ameeica.

    Kauai grown food means Kauai Fresh Foods, and hopefully chemical free.

    Mahalo to Go Farm and Eric Hanson


  2. I saw a Vampire once February 9, 2021 3:30 pm Reply

    Hawai‘i imports about 85 to 90% of its food, making it particularly vulnerable to disruptions in food supply,” said CTAHR Dean Nicholas Comerford. “Our GoFarm Hawai‘i program addresses this by providing farmers with the tools they need to be successful, and expanding our local food supply — a necessity for our entire community.

    That means Panda Express is buying their vegetables at whole sale prices and cheaper from somewhere else. With pesticides. Because it is on a mass production. Like by the bundles as needed for profit.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.