Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

Steve Sakala, Hawai`i Farmers Union United Kona Chapter vice president, at left, was one of the persons considered by the Democratic Party to replace Rep. Denny Coffman, who resigned, in the upcoming state Legislature that begins Wednesday. Photo from HFUU
HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED held its 2014 Food Summit last week on O`ahu. Among those attending were Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Rep. Richard Onishi, who represents East Ka`u at the 2014 Hawai`i Legislature; Maria Gallo, dean of the University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources; Scott Enright, the new head of the state Department of Agriculture; farmers; land use experts and scientists.
      They participated in fruitful discussions, said an attendee from Ka`u, Malian Lahey, who works in the Ka`u Coffee business and owns a farm in Wood Valley. She said that during the convention she was able to advocate for state recognition of Ka`u Coffee as a regional trademark. Seven other coffee regions in Hawai`i have trademarks held in trust by the state Department of Agriculture.
     Also discussed at the convention was the challenge for truck farmers and those growing on small family plots to afford compliance with food security regulations that sometimes favor large farms.
    Attendees toured commercial Korean Natural Farming sites that operate without the use of pesticides and herbicides or petrochemical fertilizers.
     CTHAR dean Gallo recently wrote in an op-ed that “fortifying prime agricultural lands and infrastructure, and supporting local farming are critical elements for food security for our state. Agriculture must be a predominant theme in our sense of place.”
      The event included discussions of bill coming up in the state Legislature, which convenes Wednesday. The first item on the agenda was the Good Agriculture Practices legislation, which would create a statewide food safety certification standard under the state Department of Agriculture in conjunction with a CTHAR Good Agriculture Practices training course and self-audit. HFUU said the training is in jeopardy of losing its funding in April and urges farmers and others to voice their support for the program.
      Another bill HFUU supports is On Farm Mentoring, which provides grants to farmers or qualified entities that source 75 percent or more of their inputs from the farm to teach their farming practices.
      Hawai`i Origin Products Act calls for a producer-driven labeling regime for Hawai`i’s origin products, to protect purity and quality of select products, as well as creating a state-appointed Origin Products Commission consisting of farmers.
   Ka`u comes under the Hawai`i Farmers Union United Kona Chapter.
     See more on the convention at hawaiifarmersunionunited.com.
     To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Drones have high potential for use in agriculture, according to agronomist Kevin Price.
Photo from wikipedia
MOST INCOME FROM USE OF DRONES, about 80 percent, will come from agriculture, Kansas State University agronomist Kevin Price told farmers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention in San Antonio.
      Agricultural applications of drones, also known as small unmanned aircraft systems, include data collection on crop health, vigor and yields, tracking the spread of invasive plant species and monitoring cattle feedlots. Price said data collection by cameras on drones is extremely accurate – to within one inch.
      “The biggest challenge is extracting useful data from the tons of it that is collected,” Price said. “New software needs to be created that can take data and transform it into useful information.”
      Price said that while the economic potential of drones is tremendous, it will not be realized without approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA recently announced research on how to integrate drones safely into the national airspace, with some of the testing to take place in Hawai`i.
      According to Price, drone technology continues to develop rapidly, and costs are declining.
      Ka`u is represented at the national Farm Bureau meeting by Chris Manfredi, of Na`alehu, who is acting president of the Hawai`i division of the organization.
      See more at fb.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Researches say fisheries should be closed when leatherback turtles
are present to protect the endangered species.
NOAA photo by Scott Benson
A STUDY OF ENDANGERED LEATHERBACK turtles proposes closing fisheries when the turtles are present. “Ultimately, it is in the interest of both the fishing and conservation communities to work together toward developing a clearer understanding of times, locations and conditions under which undesired bycatch of leatherback turtles occurs, to reduce these interactions and to help alleviate the current biodiversity crisis in our oceans.” 
      A team of researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia, several other universities, the federal Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the nonprofit Leatherback Trust used GPS devices to track 135 turtles in the Pacific and determine where and when they are at risk of being caught and killed by longline fishing boats. Their results were published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
      “Leatherback turtles get caught on longlines by both biting at the bait and getting entangled in the lines themselves,” said James Spotila, a research team member and professor of environmental science at Drexel. “Fishermen do not want to catch the turtles but have had limited success in avoiding them. Now they will be able to set their lines in areas where the turtles are unlikely to occur, making the ocean safer for turtles and reducing the cost to the fishermen of having to deal with the giant turtles."
     While leatherbacks are less familiar to Hawai`i residents than hawksbills and green sea turtles, they are a native species in Hawaiian waters, found mostly offshore where they have encountered long line fishing fleets.
      The study, however, found the greatest risk was in two areas. One is adjacent to nesting beaches in Indo-Pacific islands such as Papua New Guinea, Irian Jaya and the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific. According to the study, these areas are under exclusive economic control of national authorities and can readily be regulated.
      In the eastern Pacific, the greatest risk is in a system of currents called the South Pacific Gyre. Management is more problematic here because this area is outside national waters, researchers said.
      “Encouragingly, several emerging partnerships between fisheries operators and biologists, aimed at sharing information, have greatly refined targeted bycatch management, and have provided examples for approaching such a complex issue as marine turtle bycatch.”
      See rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE’S meeting today at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church is open to the public. One item on the agenda is wrapping up the Corridor Management Plan to submit to the state Department of Transportation, including discussion of public comments from copies left in libraries. 
      Dennis Elwell reported that the interpretive sign at South Point lookout in Ocean view will be replaced by a full board, instead of a patch, to correct a misspelling.
      The committee will also discuss appointing a new chair.
      For more information, contact Elwell at delwell.hawaii.rr.com or 929-7236.

Ka`i Ho`opi`i performs Wednesday.
Photo from NPS
HAPPENINGS AT HALEMA`UMA`U is the topic at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      In March 2008, a new volcanic vent opened within Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea. Since then, the eruption has consisted of continuous degassing, occasional explosive events and fluctuating lava lake activity in an open crater that is now 520 feet by 690 feet in size. While thousands of visitors flock to see the nighttime glow emitted by the lava lake, the volcano’s summit eruption also provides an abundance of data and insights for scientists.
      Geologist Matt Patrick presents an update on Kilauea’s summit eruption, including an overview of the volcanic processes occurring within the vent. $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.

KA`I HO`OPI`I SHARES MUSIC OF HIS `OHANA during a Na Leo Manu: Heavenly Voices program Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT holds its next meeting at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office Thursday at 4 p.m. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at http://snack.to/fzpfg59c.


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