|First place in the county Department of Water Supply Keiki Poster Contest for the artists in fifth|
grade is Kira Agular. See more below.
OWNERS OF THEIR OWN FARMS is the future faced by the majority of Kaʻū Coffee growers at Cloud Rest and Pear Tree above Pāhala. They are are becoming owners of their farms, after years of worry that their famous orchards would be sold out from under them on the open market for prices beyond their reach. Buying the farms comes after decades of work, following the closure of the Kaʻū Sugar plantation in 1996. The farmers worked the former sugar land under rental agreements, with numerous restrictions on what they could farm and an uncertain future in their land tenure.
After negotiations with Resource Land Holdings, which bought and subdivided the property under the name Kaʻū Mahi, the farmers were able to buy lots that largely conform to their farms. The farmers
|Cory and Connie Koi, one of the first to become owners of|
their Ka'u Coffee farm, after years of renting the land.
Photo from Ka'u Coffee Festival
received first option at prices below land prices that recently surged in rural Hawai‘i. Most farmers were able to qualify for very low interest USDA and other government and private loans, with encouragement and assistance from county, state and federal agencies as well as non-profit organizations, lending institutions and real estate agents. A majority of these Kaʻū Coffee farmers recently received deeds to their property. Among the Kaʻū Coffee growers who now own their farms are: Kaʻū Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba and Rogelio Aquino. They bought their own farm and Camba worked with other farmers to encourage them to apply for the land loans, a process unfamiliar to many of them. She said the purchase cost per acre was about $10,000 to $21,000, with most around $15,000 per acre. John and daughter Lori Ah San also worked on negotiations with the owners. The Ah San’s were able to purchase the largest amount of land among the existing farmers, about 60 acres, with a USDA low interest
John Ah San and Gloria Camba credited Punalu‘u resident Julie Enriques for representing the majority of the farmers as the buyers’ Realtor. Ah San said, “She really went to bat for us, from working with farmers on qualifying for the loans to working out details on easements tied the properties and looking over the accuracy of
|Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba with husband and|
partner in coffee, Rogelio Aquino. Photo from Ka'u Coffee Festival
Among the growers who recently closed on their farm purchases are: Connie and Cory Koi, Francis and Trinidad Marques, Leo and Herme Norberte, Lazaro Hernandez, Melchor Fernandez, Milton and Verna Dacalio, Don Dacalio, Godofredo and Ana Miranda, Ferdinand and Geraldine Ramos, Val and Renilda Ramos, Delvin and Shauwnette Navarro, Pablo Mauricio, Frank and Avalina Ancheta and Hong Vong. Other farmers are waiting finalization of loans. A few declined to purchase and are riding out rental agreements that go into the future.
Enriques said that many of the farmers were born and raised here and that working with them has been one of her most rewarding projects, particularly since the locals buying the farms means “roots in the ground for generations to come.”
Camba also recognized USDA Farm Service Agency’s Jennifer Balderas, Ka‘ū Coffee Growers Co-op member Miles Mayne, The Kohala Center, the state Department of Agriculture, Congressman Kai Kahele, County of Hawai‘i and County Council Chair Maile David for their assistance, as well as Ka‘ū Coffee Mill and Pāhala Plantation Manager’s House for meeting venues. She said she expects more than 40 farms to be owned by coffee growers.
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|Olamau Miyashiro took first among second graders in the Keiki Water Poster Contest, sponsored by the County.|
WASTE ZERO WATER IS THE THEME THAT DREW SOME 400 KEIKI TO THE 2022 COUNTY WATER CONSERVATION POSTER CONTEST. From kindergarten through fifth grade they sent in their art illustrating the 2022 effort to spread the slogan, Be a Superhero - Waste Zero
. The students came from public, private and public charter schools, as well as home-schooling.
Department of Water Supply for County of Hawai‘i issued a statement to congratulate all Big Island schoolchildren who entered, saying they "demonstrated their knowledge of water conservation and artistic skills through their poster entries. Mahalo to the students’ teachers and parents for promoting water conservation. Remember to do your part to protect and preserve our most precious resource – safe drinking water!"