June 2017

Agricultural modernization is essential to enhance the productive capacity of environmentally-friendly integrative farming systems, farm worker and food product safety, and thereby economic return per unit land area.

By Bruce Mathews.

Bruce Mathews
Bruce Mathews

Whenever there are allegations of pollution or health risks generated by a medium or large scale agricultural operation there are always people who blanket attack modern agriculture, technology, and corporations. They then often advocate for small farms, production methods of the past, or even worse strongly endorse unverified “miracle” practices.

The problem with looking too much to the past is that it can stifle support for innovation which is key to a resilient food-secure future, and rural economic development. Furthermore in our often romanticized view of small farmers feeding half the world we tend to easily forget that many of these people live on a subsistence diet and frequently suffer hunger and malnutrition due to low and (or) inconsistent yields.

Wung remembers that when he was a student at UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, he helped build perimeter fences at the farm laboratory.

By Aleysia Kaha.

Matthew Wung
Matthew Wung

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has hired Matthew Wung as the new manager of the university’s Agricultural Farm Laboratory. A former student at the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management who studied general agriculture, Wung was born and raised on Hawai‘i Island and has 30 years working with local farmers through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Wung’s family raised cattle on 400 acres of land in Mountain View and although that land was sold many years ago, he is still very passionate about raising cattle. He now raises flowers.

When asked what he would like to do most as the new farm manager, his answer was simple: “I am excited to move forward, make a good difference.”

Wung remembers that when he was a student at UH Hilo, he helped build the farm’s perimeter fences. When looking at the farm today—from nutrient management, forest management, pest management, and more—he believes improvements will be made one step at a time.

This tour was such a unique experience for me because I didn’t know much about cacao, but now I have a better understanding of what it’s like to process it.

Students gathered in orchard.
Alumnus Colin Hart talks to students about orchard airflow.

By Tiera Arakawa.

If you are looking for fun and adventure throughout the school year, a club to consider is the Agriculture Club. The Agriculture Club goes on adventures, tours, does projects that the students would like to do, and volunteers with various jobs of interest. Since my sophomore year of college, I have realized how important it is to get involved around the campus, find ways to give back to the community around us, and make long lasting friendships. For that reason, I decided to join the Agriculture Club because agriculture is what I am passionate about and I like to know that the little things that I do, especially volunteering is making a positive impact in our community.

In full circle, we were able to observe the work that these farmers had already done to shape their landscape, worked our hands in the soil and planted the cuttings that were harvested.

Students walking through taro patches.
Students make their way through six wetland taro patches.

We stood facing our hosts, our teachers for the day, the kua‘aina of the valley. Following traditional protocol, the chant Kūnihi ka Mauna presented us to Waipi‘o Valley, and more specifically Ka‘ilipu‘ueo. ʻAma Lilly, vice president of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Agriculture Club, lead us in this chant. It allowed the club not only to present themselves in reverence to a place rich with Hawaiian traditional legacies but also helped to set the tone for the day ahead.

The course will examine the history of women’s involvement in agriculture from interdisciplinary lenses, including social sciences, women’s studies and agricultural sciences.

Brooke Hansen holds a sprouted palm tree.
Brooke Hansen

Agriculture and Gender and Women’s Studies come together in the fall for a unique course on the role women have played in farming, agriculture, food production and food resiliency throughout human history. The new course at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will examine this history and current global scope of women’s involvement from interdisciplinary lenses, including social sciences, women’s studies and agricultural sciences.

As the group came together to recognize the achievements of the UH Hilo ag students, they also gave thanks to the professors that guided them along the way.

Seniors gathered for a group shot, the farm pavilion in the background.
Graduates and faculty gather for group photo.

Faculty, staff, and students from the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) gathered with friends and family one evening in May to recognize and honor the path it took for graduating seniors at the Bi-Annual “Senior Awards Night.”

With music by Tropical Horticulture Associate Professor Norman Arancon and CAFNRM alumni, Herb Loa‘a, the evening was full of smiles, laughter and conversation. As the evening continued, Associate Professor of Animal Science Erik Cleveland gave prayer for the food and recognized all the elements that came together to make the evening special.

A primary concern brought about by this weed is its ability to rapidly spread and its danger to livestock, if ingested.

By Damon Adamson.

Fire weed, yellow flowers

One of more than 1200 species of Senecio globally, Senecio madagascariensis, fireweed, or Madagascar ragwort is of specific concern to Hawai‘i. Having been established in Hawai‘i in the early 1980s, it has continued to climb the chain as an invasive, dangerous, and noxious weed.

S. madagascariensis, an upright, branched mostly annual herb, growing from seed, that generally grows to heights between four and 24 inches tall. Its narrow, bright-green, alternating leaves can reach two to five inches in length and one-quarter inch across, often lobed and can demonstrate a smooth or serrated edge. The inflorescence is terminal and comprised of both disc and ray florets. Dull to bright yellow in appearance, similar to a common daisy, mostly displaying a 13-patterned ray floret count. Additionally, each type of floret, disc and ray, produce seed.

The entire breadfruit tree is a multipurpose and useful resource.

By Damon Adamson.

Belonging to the Moracceae (Fig or Mulberry Family), breadfruit or ‘ulu in Hawai‘i encompasses four primary sub-species: Artocarpus altilis, Artocarpus incisus, Artocarpus mariannensis or Artocarpus communis. Grown in the Hawaiian Islands, as well as throughout the Pacific Basin area. They have been hybridized and many diversities have become prolific. There are currently 24 distinct species of breadfruit. Fruit size, shape, coloration, seeded or seedless, and seasonal ripening are a few of the differences.

The fair celebrated the bounty of students’ work and the presence of horticulture and agriculture in the community.

By Claire Kinley.

Group of students with goats.
Goat & sheep outreach with animal science students at the fair.

In April the College of Agriculture Forestry and Natural Resource Management at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo held an Agricultural Fair on the grounds of the College of Agriculture building. The fair highlighted student projects from different courses of the college ranging from value-added products, vegetable harvests from the campus gardens, and animals from the UH Hilo farm. The fair was open to the public to come and celebrate the bounty of the students’ work and give appreciation for the presence of horticulture and agriculture in the community.

Students clear brush and overgrown trees during a recent Give Back Day.

Students stand for photo in front of the UH Hilo farm pavilion.
Students and faculty pose for photo at the Farm Pavilion after working to cleanup around the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory. The day was sponsored by the UH Foundation.

In an effort to give back to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management facilities, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo students in the campus’s Agriculture Club created “Give Back Days,” where students, faculty and staff help get work done at the three college facilities: the College of Agriculture Building, the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, and the Agricultural Farm Laboratory. These photos show a day at the farm, cleaning up brush and overgrown trees.