In order to be competitive one needs to be farming at an economy of scale and price point differentials that work, particularly when the competition is imported from continent based mega-farms.
By Bruce Mathews.
While there have been calls for at least 50 years for the state of Hawaiʻi to improve its food self-sufficiency and hence food security, the progress to reduce dependence on imports has been painfully slow. This being said, community interest in increasing locally grown food is rapidly expanding. However, interest alone will not be sufficient to turn the dial substantially without major changes in consumer behavior or extreme market distortions.
Economies of scale
In order to be competitive one needs to be farming at an economy of scale and price point differentials that work, particularly when the competition is imported from continent based mega-farms. Even in Hawaiʻi the entrepreneurial produce farmer success stories that are most often mentioned tend to be on the larger side. It takes a unique mix of entrepreneurial skills, hard work, and capital access to make a decent middle class living let alone a small fortune as a family farmer. Locally grown produce may become more competitive as continental growers deal with increasing water costs and climate change.
We spent time this summer in China collecting and testing soil samples for a study about the long-term effects that warming and nitrogen addition would have on microbial composition and enzyme production.
By Erin Busch and Tim Zimmerman.
At the Sanming Forest Ecosystem and Global Change Research Station in Fujian, China, scientists and researchers from various fields gather to utilize experimental plots designed as mesocosm studies and in-field sampling and monitoring stations to study forest hydrological change, forest carbon management, and future global change.
The agreement supports cooperative research activities and the exchange of researchers and students.
By Christoher Lu.
Upon invitation, I visited the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine at Guizhou Academy of Agricultural Sciences during the summer of 2016. I presented an invited paper entitled “Overview of Global Meat Goat Industry.”
There are approximately one billion goats in the world, mostly for meat purposes. The top ten countries with the largest goat populations are China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Iran, and Mali. There are about three million goats in the United States with a continued increasing trend since 1980s.
William H. Purvis, the young manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele on Hawaiʻi Island, planted the first mac nuts in 1882 at Kapulena.
By Damon Adamson.
Hailing from southern Queensland and northern New South Wales on the continent of Australia and belonging to the Proteaceae family, the macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia) was first imported into Hawaiʻi in 1882 by William H. Purvis. Purvis, the young manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele on the Big Island, planted seeds that year at Kapulena.
The threat of Tropical Nut Borer in Hawai‘i creates a significant threshold on macadamia nut production and proceeds.
By Damon Adamson.
The Tropical Nut Borer (TNB), Hypothenemus obscurus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), was first identified in Hawai‘i—North Kona specifically—in 1988, with consequential studies conducted in the early 1990s. Initial studies determined TNB only affected Western Hawai‘i Island and with no other reports from Maui, O‘ahu, or Kaua‘i.
But within just a few years, TNB was found on all islands throughout the state, creating a significant threshold on macadamia nut production and proceeds. University of Hawai‘i studies conducted in the 1990s suggest a larger impact on orchards within dryer climates versus consistently wetter areas.
Arizona State University is a potential partner for UH Hilo in developing energy science curriculum.
By Philippe Binder,Professor of Physics.
“Sustainability” is a property of social and biological systems that can remain active and functioning for long periods of time without depleting their resources or causing damage to their surroundings.
This concept has become more widely recognized in recent times. A big landmark was The Limits to Growth, a report on simulations of global population, environment and resources from the early 1970s showing a serious collapse of human population and standard of living, unless measures like a reduction in fertility rate and better care of the environment were adopted.
In the late 1980s, Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report, produced by the United Nations) discussed development and environment as closely related issues, and presented a blueprint for sustainable development.
AG 294 (Agricultural Waste Management: Composting and Vermicomposting) is designed as a co-curricular organization to take lead on a pilot waste management program at the UH Hilo campus.
By Alexis Stubbs, Sophomore, Tropical Horticulture.
For a solution to be truly sustainable, it must have a positive return to environment and society. This semester, Norman Arancon, associate professor of horticulture, has introduced a course that is structured and provided opportunity to do just that. Prof. Arancon has designed his course, AG 294 (Agricultural Waste Management: Composting and Vermicomposting) as a co-curricular organization, to take lead on a pilot waste management program on our University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.
A 1986 graduate of UH Hilo, Mathews joined the university in 1993 as a temporary assistant professor of soils and agronomy and became a tenure-track assistant professor two years later. His areas of research include plant nutrient cycling and soil fertility as affected by environmental conditions and crop management, assessment of the impact of agricultural and forestry production practices on soil, coastal wetlands, and surface waters, and the development of environmentally sound and economically viable nutrient management practices for pastures, forests and field crops in the tropics (learn more about his research).
Mathews received an master of arts in agronomy from Louisiana State University and a doctor of philosophy in agronomy and soils from the University of Florida.
“As a graduate, faculty member and most recently interim dean, Bruce has unrivaled knowledge of this college, its mission and its potential,” says Straney. “I can think of no one else who better understands our responsibility to the community and the entire state of Hawaiʻi than Bruce Mathews.”