Maui Agriculture & Natural Resources Industry Day Friday, September 23

Lani Weigert, Aliʻi Kula Lavender

Lani Weigert, Aliʻi Kula Lavender

In partnership with Maui Economic Development Board, UHMC Agriculture & Natural Resources Department, Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) will present Maui Agriculture & Natural Resources Industry Day on the lawn of the Hoʻoulu (ag) Building on the UHMC campus on Friday, September 23, from 9 am – 1 pm. The first annual Maui Agriculture & Natural Resources Industry Day is planned for students enrolled in agriculture programs at Maui county high schools as well as UHMC.

Following the 9:00 a.m. welcome address, the day is planned in three blocks: Agriculture & Natural Science Fair with informational booths by Maui agriculture sectors, agencies and associations from 9:15 am-10:05 am, Agriculture & Natural Sciences Breakout Sessions scheduled at 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The breakout session will cover seven topics: Ag Today / Diversified Ag, Culture in Agriculture, Natural Resources, Higher Education, Science of Agriculture, Landscape and Flower Industries and the Hawaiʻiʻs Sheep & Goat industry. The day concludes with a Grown on Maui lunch from noon–1:00 p.m.

Hokuao Pellegrino, Nohoʻana Farm

Hokuao Pellegrino, Nohoʻana Farm

“As part of MCFBʻs Educate the Educator program managed by Maui Economic Development Board, this event is purposefully planned to bring students and teachers together to meet Mauiʻs farmers, ranchers, educators, and agricultural experts,” said Warren K. Watanabe. “Our focus is to create the pathway for agriculture students to higher education then to meaningful, skilled and often high-paying careers in agriculture on Maui.”

Watanabe says the average age of a farmer in Hawaiʻi is 62 years old. Nationally the average age is 60. MCFB, MEDB and UHMC along with many other groups have been working for many years to draw attention to this statistic while working to grow the next generation of ag leaders in Maui County.

“An important piece is connecting what is being taught in the classroom and its real world application,” said Isla Young, MEDB Women in Technology. “We are trying to shift the view of agriculture to high science and a place for students to help sustain their land and resources. It is exciting that the continuum from middle, high school, college, and eventually job placement will be showcased.”

In total, more than 220 students plus their teachers from Maui (including Hana), Molokai and Lāna’i have registered. The students will each choose two breakout sessions where they will have quality time with presenters who are experts in agricultural fields which interest them most. There will be 20 – 25 students in each breakout session.

“Agriculture & Natural Resources is one of the career pathways high school students can choose to direct their academic plans. Therefore it is important for these students to learn about the range of fields and careers that are in this pathway,” said Ann Emmsely, UHMC. “The Agriculture & Natural Resources awareness day brings professionals from a variety of areas together in one place so that students can learn about different career tracks within this pathway. UHMC students can also use this time to explore career opportunities and interact with professionals. This day provides students an opportunity to broaden their horizons.”

The breakout session presenters include Lani Weigert, Aliʻi Kula Lavender, Gerry Ross, Kupaʻa Farm and Steve Chaikin, Molokai Sea Farms International, for Diversified Ag Today; Hokuao Pellegrino, Nohoʻana Farm, and Joylynn Paman, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, for Culture in Agriculture; Skippy Hau of DLNR is confirmed for Natural Resources; Ann Emmsley, UHMC, and Charley Kinoshita of UH-Manoa, for Higher Education; Paul Koehler, Monsanto Hawaiʻi, Science of Agriculture; Richie Campas and Kevin Boteilho, HGP, for Landscape & Flower industries; and Jay Carpio for Hawaiʻi Sheep & Goat industry.

Maui County Farm Bureau is a grassroots 501(c)(5) organization of farms and ranch families, agricultural industries, and associated organizations dedicated to supporting agriculture in Maui County. We are affiliated with both the statewide Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

In 2006, Maui County Farm Bureau launched Agriculture in the Classroom, a 10-month series of in-class farmer presentations and on-the-farm field activities, titled Where Would We Be Without Seeds, centered around the life cycle of plants. Ag in the Classroom was originally developed for second-graders of any public, private, or charter school willing to participate. In 2011, MCFB visited more than 14 schools and hosted over 1,000 students for its annual AIC Field Trip.

MCFBʻs AIC series has branched out to middle school and high school students. Through a partnership with the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources (CTAHR), Maui County Farm Bureau Ag Awareness Day occurs annually for fifth graders island wide. In addition, through a partnership with Maui Economic Development Board, Maui County Farm Bureau works with students at Maui intermediate and high schools. In September 2011, MCFB and MEDB in partnership with UHMC Ag & Natural Resources present Maui Agriculture & Natural Sciences Industry Day, an event for ag program students to meet farmers, ranchers, educators, and ag industry leaders. The students attend a trade show and breakout sessions, and everyone comes together to enjoy a Grown on Maui lunch provided by Haliʻimaile Pineapple Co, Kula Country Farm, Waipoli Hydroponics and Maui Cattle Company.