UHMC Hosts First Annual Maui Ag Industry Day
By Wendy Osher
The first annual Maui Agriculture and Natural Resources Industry Day takes place today on the grounds of UH Maui College in Kahului.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lawn of the campus’ Ho’oulu building, and is geared toward students enrolled in agricultural programs at UHMC and area high schools.
The event is purposefully planned to bring students and teachers together to meet Maui’s farmers, ranchers, educators and agricultural experts.
Organizers say the focus is to create a pathway for students to higher education, and then to meaningful and skilled careers in agriculture on Maui.
The event is presented in partnership with the Maui Economic Development Board, UHMC Agriculture & Natural Resources Department, and the Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB).
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 am 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 to 1 p.m.
“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.”
More than 220 students plus their teachers from Maui (including Hana), Molokai and Lāna’i have registered to attend today’s event.
“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. “This day provides students an opportunity to broaden their horizons.”
Breakout sessions include:
- Diversified Ag Today with Lani Weigert of Aliʻi Kula Lavender; Gerry Ross of Kupaʻa Farm; and Steve Chaikin of Molokai Sea Farms International.
- Culture in Agriculture with Hokuao Pellegrino of Nohoʻana Farm; and Joylynn Paman with the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens.
- Natural Resources with Skippy Hau of DLNR.
- Higher Education with Ann Emmsley of UHMC; and Charley Kinoshita of UH-Manoa.
- Science of Agriculture with Paul Koehler of Monsanto Hawaiʻi.
- Landscape & Flower industries with Richie Campas and Kevin Boteilho of HGP
- Hawaiʻi Sheep & Goat industry with Jay Carpio.