Monday, April 30, 2012

Grower Inspired Aquaponics Field Day and Risk Management Update

LIFE and RMH would like to thank Mr. Ramiscal and Mr. Saguibo, Wailua grower cooperators, for allowing us to hold an educational workshop and field day on their property. Over 40 participants learned about the LIFE and Risk Management programs offered via UH CTAHR and the USDA Risk Management Agency. Special thanks to Steve Fukuda for working with the grower cooperators in organizing the demonstration.
Dr. Clyde Tamaru provided a sound foundation on aquaculture, hydroponics 
& aquaponics based on Hawaii generated research based information
Jason Shitanishi of the USDA FSA covered the USDA FSA Disaster and Transporation Reimbursement Programs. Mr. Shitanishi explained the USDA transportation reimbursement program can assist growers in getting back approximately 5% of crop inputs expenses such as fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, etc.  
TJ Nii shared information about the various USDA farm loans available
Daryl Arai elaborated on the ag loans available through HDOA
Both speakers provided information on government supported financial loan programs that could be explored to help fund new and existing agricultural related ventures, like aquaponics. Growers were advised by LIFE and RMH to talk with loan officers about the best package and rates for their respective businesses. 

Jensen Uyeda of the Sustainable and Organic Program talked about the role of vermicompost in seedling media and worms in the grow bed systems.
Participants learned from the cooperators the growing pains and opportunities in starting a aquaponics system in Hawaii
4H Agent, Rose Saito explained to growers about worm habitat while Agent Jari Sugano showed growers how to minimize food safety risk when harvesting
Dr. Clyde Tamaru showcased the two growing system designs (cinder vs floating beds), the bell siphon-ebb and flow water system and talked about the new disease affecting talapia.
Growers were able to see blue and red talapia and the Chinese catsish species.
Growers learned to section off talapia offsprings to minimize losses
Special mahalo to Dr. Clyde Tamaru, Jason Shitanishi, TJ Nii, Daryl Arai, Jensen Uyeda for  'showing' growers ways to take on new agribusiness ventures through management of ag risk.

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