Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Aug. 25, 2014

Cowboys and Trojans hand in hand to support Ka`u High football last Saturday at the rodeo. The team plays its
first game of the season at home this Saturday. Photo by Kupono Palakiko Leffew.
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS who were hurt by the Aug. 8 Tropical Storm Iselle are considering whether to apply for low-interest loans to help them recover. Sept. 1 is one of the upcoming deadlines to ask for federal assistance, said Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering loans. Most of the damage was to coffee trees heavy with the next harvest. The cherries would have been ready to pick within about a month, but many of them fell on the ground when the branches broke and are unusable. Others on branches that were broken and hanging on the trees had to be cut for the health of the tree.
A torrent of water ran through Wood Valley fields during Iselle.
Photo by Anne Celeste
      Several farmers experienced trees uprooted by flooding, she said. Most of the damage on the oldest Ka`u Coffee farms was in Pear Tree, she said.
      New coffee farm damage was off Wood Valley Road, where Iselle whipped down the slopes mauka to makai. Many farmers found coffee trees lying down after the storm and rushed the next day to stand them up, hoping they will survive.
     farmer Trini Marques said the Calumpit family’s farm suffered with more than 1,000 young coffee-bearing trees  tipped over. She said the Calumpit family is methodically righting the trees on Olson Trust land across from Wood Valley Buddhist cemetery.
     Marques said that on Olson property about 800 of her family’s coffee trees were knocked over and that her family has been standing them back up. Some of them were ready for harvest and had to be stood up right away to allow the cherries to finish ripening, she said. She said her family is still working on standing up all the trees.
      For more information for assistance, contact county Farm Service Agency Executive Director Lester Ueda at 933-8341 or lester.ueda@hi.usda.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

As part of its promotion of macadamia nuts as a healthy snack,
Royal Hawaiian Orchards says its nuts are non-GMO-verified.
Image from royalhawaiianorchards.com
ROYAL HAWAIIAN ORCHARDS suffered little loss during Iselle. President and CEO of the company Scott Wallace said that Royal Hawaiian inspected all of it trees in Ka`u. However, the company declined to issue a statement regarding any damages as they would not significantly impact annual projections. Much of its orchard land is outside of hard-hit Wood Valley.
       Royal Hawaian is featured in the August edition of Hawai`i Business Magazine as potentially one of the top 250 profitable companies in the state for 2014. The story by Gina Gelber says:
      “Royal Hawaiian Orchards, one of the world’s largest growers and processors of macadamia nuts, is positioning itself for a reversal of fortune, despite losses of $2.91 million in 2013. Overall, the company had income of $13.8 million last year, slipping into the Top 250 at 235, 16 slots down from last year. Diverse factors contributed to this rough patch, including inadequate rain, which hurt its annual harvest. RHO hopes to make a big comeback in 2014, with a branding strategy that positions macadamias as a health food. The company has enlisted athletes for its branding efforts and plans to triple its distribution network to 10,000 retailers.”
      In an Aug. 15 press release, Royal Hawaiian reported that during the first six months of this year, “the Partnership retained a significantly larger portion of its macadamia nuts for manufacture into its branded products or for sale in bulk kernel form following the expiration of certain macadamia nut purchase contracts with Mauna Loa.
     “Additionally, on June 30, 2014, the Partnership terminated its lease on its Mauna Kea orchard and sold its trees to the landlord (Olson Trust) for consideration of $1.5 million, triggering a non-cash loss of $1.8 million on the transaction. The increase in net revenues for the period was attributable primarily to an increase in branded product sales over the same period in 2013.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

LEHUA COURT PROFESSIONAL AND RETAIL PLAZA in Ocean View received approval from Hawai`i County Council last week. The project got favorable recommendations from the Windward Planning Commission and the county Planning Committee before being sent to the full council.
      The property is on the mauka side of Hwy 11 and connects with Lehua Lane and Keaka Parkway.
      The applicant, William C. Foulk, sought to change the site’s zoning from Agricultural to Village Commercial. The 4.143-acre site would be developed with 54,000 square feet of commercial space and another 12,500 square feet of open, landscaped area for periodic craft fairs, thespian events and public gatherings.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U TROJANS EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL TEAM plays its first game of the season this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at home. Opponents are the Kohala Cowboys. The first game will be followed by a trip to Maui for a Friday night game at Seabury Hall on Sept. 5. The Trojans will host Pahoa Daggars on Friday, Sept. 12. Trojans host Kamehameha Warriors on Friday, Sept. 26 followed by a trip to Pahoa on Saturday Oct. 4, for a game against the Daggers at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Oct. 11, the Trojans travel to Kohala to play the Cowboys at 2 p.m. The team is raising money to help pay for its travels.
      Ka`u will not travel to play Moloka`i this year since Kohala, Kamehameha and Pahoa have all fielded eight-man football teams on this island. The Seaberry Hall game on Maui will take place as it was already scheduled.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Before: Raking cover-crop seed into soil between rows
of coffee trees. Photos from USDA/NRCS
MANAGING FOR SOIL HEALTH IS ONE of the easiest and most effective ways for farmers to increase crop productivity and profitability while improving the environment, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. That was one of the messages of the Healthy Soils workshop presented last Friday in Pahala.
      Results of soil management are often realized immediately and last well into the future.
      Four basic principles are key to improving soil health:
  • Keep soil covered as much as possible; 
  • Keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; 
  • Disturb soil as little as possible; and 
  • Diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops. 
      These core practices form the basis of a Soil Health Management System that can help reduce input costs, protect against drought and increase production.
      Using unharvested crops to keep the soil covered throughout the year provides conservation benefits to the soil. Cover crops increase organic matter, prevent erosion, conserve moisture, increase nutrient cycling, provide nitrogen for plant use, suppress weeds, reduce soil compaction and decrease use of pesticides.
      Reduced-till and no-till methods of planting disturb the soil as little as possible. These methods improve water efficiency, increase organic matter, reduce erosion, reduce energy use, decrease soil compaction and improve crop production.
After: Buckwheat blooming as a cover crop
between rows of coffee trees.
      Crop rotation involves growing diverse crops in a planned sequence in order to increase organic matter and biodiversity in the soil. It increases nutrients, helps manage pests, reduces erosion, increases soil moisture, increases microbial health and improves plant production.
      For more information, see nrcs.usda.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK WAIVES ENTRY FEES today to celebrate National Park Service’s 98th birthday.

TEANA KAHOOHANOHANO DEMONSTRATES HOW `OHE (bamboo) are carved into designs and how they are used Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

LABOR DAY IS A WEEK FROM TODAY. Ka`u residents can celebrate by participating in Kahuku: Born from a Hotspot, a new program at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Participants learn about the birth of the islands from the Hawaiian hotspot and about past eruptions that impacted Kahuku. Visitors will be able to identify various pu`u (hills) and other volcanic features and learn about their formation.
      Call 985-6011 or see nps.gov/havo for more information.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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