• 14 Apr 2020 8:44 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article

    By HNN Staff | April 11, 2020 at 1:33 PM HST - Updated April 11 at 1:33 PM

    HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of Agriculture is offering a new emergency relief fund to help farmers, ranchers and food producers.

    Individuals may receive up to $2,000 worth of aid; groups can get up to $10,000.

    The help is coming from $250,000 of the State’s barrel tax fund (Agriculture Development and Food Security Special Fund), which was freed up when the governor signed the March 4 emergency proclamation.

    So far the department has received 333 applications, which equals to a total request amount of $1.2 million.

    “We all need to make sure that our farmers, ranchers and other food producing operations can survive through and eventually recover from this crisis,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.

    “We ask that Hawaii consumers continue to support our local farmers and food producers through direct and indirect sales at farmers’ markets and community-supported agricultural efforts. Buy local, it matters," she added.

    The review and award process is already underway and fund can be expected later this month.

    The department is also considering deferring rent payments for lessees currently in the state’s agricultural land programs.

    For more information on these programs and other relief efforts, farmers should contact the Department of Agriculture.

  • 08 Apr 2020 10:10 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Senator Schatz's website has a page dedicated to farmers and ag businesses and the CARES Act. Those that qualify can either apply for assistance through the USDA or the SBA PPP loan program (click here to determine eligibility, as you can’t apply for both).

    Here is the letter from HCA President, Christopher A. Manfredi, addressed to Mr. Dave K. Chun addressing the silos between SBA and USDA.


  • 07 Apr 2020 5:26 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article

    Farmer Relief Fund

    Apply Here

    About the program:

    • AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis.
    • Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs.
    • The application (linked to below in both English and Spanish) is simple and easy to complete but includes sufficient detail to ensure AFT is awarding producers that have the greatest needs. Applicants will be asked to estimate their financial loss.
    • AFT envisions an initial application round extending until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1.
    Apply Here (English)
    Apply Here (Spanish)

    Need Assistance?

    If you need help accessing or applying for any farm assistance, email Rachele Lamosao at rachele@hfbf.org.

    Click here for more COVID-19 Resources
  • 07 Apr 2020 5:23 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article

    Banks and Farm Credit System institutions on Friday began taking applications from farmers and other small businesses for $349 billion in forgivable loans aimed at shoring up the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.

    The Small Business Administration released an interim final rule late Thursday to update and clarify requirements announced earlier in the week for the Paycheck Protection Program. The loans will essentially be grants as long as 75% of the loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs.

    After some initial confusion, farm and banking groups and accounting experts agreed that farms were eligible for the program. 

    RJ Karney of the American Farm Bureau Federation said Friday that after reviewing the interim final rule it appeared clear that farms with fewer than 500 employees would qualify for the program despite SBA's traditional revenue thresholds that would exclude many producers. 

    Farm leaders, banking industry officials and accounting experts said there had been considerable confusion in the countryside about whether farms are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. Some SBA field offices themselves have been erroneously telling farmers they won't be eligible for PPP assistance, Agri-Pulse was told. 

    Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council, said the program will be especially valuable to farm operations with year-round employment, including livestock producers and fruit and vegetable growers since the loans can’t be forgiven unless most of it is used for payroll costs during the crisis.

    “Our phones have been ringing off the hook” since the program was announced earlier in the week, Van Hoose said. “Demand is going to be very high, and we’re eager to help.”

    SBA made all member institutions of the Farm Credit System eligible to make the loans, he said. 

    The Independent Community Bankers Association had raised some concerns with the program, including the very low interest rate, 0.5%, that SBA initially said would be charged to borrowers if they are not eligible to have the loan forgiven. The interim final rule released Thursday raised the rate to 1%.

    ICBA had said in a letter to SBA and the Treasury Department that the 0.5% rate "would create unacceptable losses for lenders, which have a duty to preserve their good health for the sake of their communities,”

    Brian Kuehl, director of federal affairs for the accounting firm KCoe Isom, also expected there to be broad interest in the program. “You can throw a rock and you’ll hit someone who’s having a hard time in agriculture right now,” Kuehl said.

    SBA officials have not responded to Agri-Pulse’s questions about the program. 

    Under the program, businesses with fewer than 500 employees may qualify for a loan up to $10 million, based on their eight weeks of prior average payroll, plus an additional 25% of that amount. To calculate the loan amount, multiply the average monthly payroll for the past year by 2.25, experts say.

    The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities and at least 75% of the loan is used for payroll. 

    But the value of the program will be limited for some farms because foreign workers, including H-2A visa holders, and independent contractors won’t be eligible for the program. Also, farms who hire most of their workers at harvest would have little payroll costs to apply toward the loan forgiveness. 

    The American Farm Bureau Federation was originally concerned that many farms would be excluded from the program, but Paul Neiffer, an agricultural accounting specialist with CliftonLarsonAllen, said that based on the interim final rule the PPP loans are exempt from revenue thresholds that apply to other forms of SBA assistance.

    "I think the law is pretty clear that revenue does not matter," he said in an email to Agri-Pulse. "It states that borrowers can be small business concerns (which have a revenue component) plus any business concern with less than 500 employees or less than the limit allowed by SBA and it is the greater of these two numbers." Since any businesses with fewer than 500 employees are made eligible the "revenue limits go out the window," he said.

    Much of the confusion around farm eligibility for the program apparently stems from the creation of a second, more conventional loan program, called Economic Injury Disaster Loans, for which farms are not currently eligible. 

    A coalition of farm groups and a bipartisan group of more than 80 House members from agricultural districts are lobbying SBA to make the 3% EIDL loans available to farms. As of Thursday afternoon, the agency had not rendered a decision. 

    In a letter to SBA on Thursday, the lawmakers said they “were shocked and disappointed that, contrary to Congressional intent, the Small Business Administration singles out farmers and agricultural businesses as ineligible for this program. 

    The lawmakers demanded SBA provide the legal rationale for excluding farms from the program. Farms have been excluded from earlier versions of the program, but the stimulus bill intended to make the new EIDL loans available to farms, the lawmakers and farm groups say. 

    Updated with the interim final rule for the PPP loans. 

    Philip Brasher
    Executive Editor

    More news from www.Agri-Pulse.com.

  • 06 Apr 2020 1:09 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Roll out of the CARE Act and refinement of rules and regulations governing this federal COVID-19 emergency funding iteration #3 continues with the objective of providing relief as quickly and with as limited red tape as possible.  By now you’re likely aware that many online sources of information are available.  Some sources are general while others are targeted.  Mindful of your time and wishing to avoid an overload of information and links you may have already received, the below links might fall in the non-duplicative category.

    COVID-19: Helpful Resources for Food & Agriculture - House Agriculture Committee

    House Agriculture Committee - USDA Resources

    USDA Coronavirus FAQs

    SBA - COVID-19 Relief for Small Business 

    Loans for Nonprofits in the CARES Act

    Hawaii Lenders Serving SBA's Hawaii District

    Paycheck Protection Program Application and FAQs

    Here is the website for those who are tracking the coronavirus pandemic, from the John Hopkins University of Medicine.

    4/2/20: Today the DOL Office of Foreign Labor Certification has issued a second round of COVID-19 related H-2A FAQ.  The Round 2 FAQs address potential issues regarding the H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification program.  View the Round 2 FAQs regarding COVID-19. These, along with other ongoing announcements, are being posted at www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a. Along with these DOL FAQs and State Department’s additional interview waiver flexibilities announced last week, USDA continues to work specifically with DHS on flexibilities related to lawful presence and transfer of workers.

  • 25 Mar 2020 8:34 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    The SCA management has issued a statement that the Coffee Expo originally planned to take place in Portland, OR in April is now cancelled. See it below.

    Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and stay healthy!

    SCA Booth Committee
    Hawaii Coffee Association

    ~ ~ ~

    2020 Expo and Re:co Canceled, Both Return in 2021

    After many weeks of discussions with our partners regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on SCA events, today we are sad to announce that the 2020 Re:co Symposium and Specialty Coffee Expo scheduled to take place in Portland in April are now canceled.

    Unfortunately, no other viable dates were available for the show to take place in Portland in 2020. We will be working with the SCA USA Chapter to explore options to hold the final US Coffee Championships of the year at a later date as appropriate. Re:co and Expo will return in April 2021 in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

    If you registered to attend or exhibit at Expo 2020, please check your inbox for an email with important information. If you have not received an email, please get in touch with us at 2020reg@sca.coffee (for attendees) or exhibit@sca.coffee (for exhibitors). 

    2021 Dates:

        Re:co Symposium: April 21-22, 2021

        Specialty Coffee Expo: April 23-25, 2021

    I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to every single one of our sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, and volunteers for your patience and understanding over the past few weeks while we negotiated the future of these two events with our partners.

    Many of you have gotten in touch with us, wondering why it has taken so long to announce the cancellation of these two events. As you may know, the Specialty Coffee Expo is the largest specialty coffee event in North America, and in order to make it happen, we engage in contracts with the venue and with over two dozen other partners, including hotels and other local businesses.

    When it became clear that it would not be possible to find new dates for later in the year in Portland, our negotiations with these partners focused on ending these contracts without putting the SCA, a nonprofit association, in danger of legal retribution from these businesses, who are also experiencing similar difficulties amid this crisis. 

    The SCA staff and volunteers who gather at Expo every year are heartbroken that we will not be able to see you in Portland this year, but we look forward to seeing you in New Orleans in April 2021.

    Stay safe and please remember to take a look at the various resources we have been compiling related to the impact of COVID-19 on the coffee industry by visiting sca.coffee/covid19

    Thank you, 

    Yannis Apostolopoulos

    Chief Executive Officer

    Specialty Coffee Association

  • 19 Mar 2014 5:07 PM | Anonymous
    Earlier this year Dr. Scot Nelson of the University of Hawaii received some photos of spotting on coffee leaves and lesions on the branches. This disease was thought to be coffee ringspot virus. However, more in depth testing identifies these symptoms to be that of Emaravirus.

    Dr. Nelson is asking for help from the Hawaii coffee growers to understand the spread of this virus.

    Please see Dr. Nelson's web-page for picture and more details.

    If you have seen these symptoms on your plants or think you might have this virus on your coffee, please contact Dr. Scot Nelson at snelson@hawaii.edu or 808-956-2000.
  • 24 Jul 2013 7:25 PM | Anonymous

    From: Fern Gavelek Communications, 808-329-0833

    Contact:  Chris Manfredi, Hawaii Coffee Association, cmanfredi@kaufarmandranch.com

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    HCA CROWNS CHAMPIONS OF HAWAIIAN COFFEE

    99 COFFEE ENTRIES VIE IN CUPPING

    LIHUE, HAWAI’I - Two Champions of Hawaiian Coffee were crowned in Commercial and Creative divisions during the annual Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 18th Conference and 5th Cupping Competition at the Kauai Beach Resort on Saturday, July 20.

    Big Island Coffee Roasters of the Big Isle’s Hawai’i District was awarded the top spot in the Creative category with a score of 86.939. ‘Creative’ entries are those that had less than 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase. The Creative category encourages farmers to experiment with new varietals and cultivation or processing methods without having to produce a commercial-level quantity of coffee.

     

    Mountain Thunder Coffee from Hawai‘I Island’s Kona District received top honors in the Commercial category scoring 85.51 These entries had at least 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase as of the time of entry. A full listing of all entries that received a score of 80.0 or greater is being provided on the HCA website at  hawaiicoffeeassociation.com.

     

    The coffees were ‘cupped’ and scored from a pool of 99 premium Hawaiian coffees from eight statewide districts: Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, Moloka‘i and O’ahu. Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including flavor, aroma, ”mouth-feel,” acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

     

    Entries were critiqued by a judging panel of esteemed coffee industry professionals using standardized blind procedures, as defined by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Judges assigned a single numerical score to each coffee (scores provided with release).

     

    The SCAA defines “Specialty Coffee” as a coffee that has a cupping score of 80.0 or greater. Awards were given for up to the top three eligible entries from each district, and the top 10 eligible coffees in each of the Commercial and Creative categories received awards.

     

    Judges for this year’s cupping panel were SCAA President Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International, SCAA Vice President Shawn Hamilton of Java City Roasters and Warren Muller of Inter-American Coffee.

     

    The scores of entries are going up, according to David Gridley, HCA cupping competition chair. “Nearly 80 percent of the 99 entries achieved a cupping score of 80.0 or greater,” said Gridley. “At our first cupping five years ago, we had 55 to 60 percent of entries scoring 80.0 or more.”


    "Constant improvement and moving forward were reoccurring themes of our 5th Annual Cupping Competition,” noted HCA President Greg Stille. “Growers are continually improving farming and processing practices that contribute to the production of high-quality coffee."

    The conference also featured an industry trade show, numerous informational speakers, growers’ reports, a hands-on cupping workshop, a silent auction and a tour of Kauai Coffee Company’s farms and facilities.

     

    The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawai‘i coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference continues to grow each year and is gaining increased international attention.

     

    For more info, visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassociation.com.

  • 21 Jul 2012 4:00 PM | Deleted user
    Hawaii Coffee Association Crowns 4th Year Grand Champions Of Hawaiian Coffee

    At 17th Annual Conference on Maui

    By Jonathan Sechrist, HCA, 07/21/2012

    - Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii

    The Hawaii Coffee Association has crowned its Grand Champions of Hawaiian Coffee at its 17th Annual Conference and 4th annual Cupping Competition at the Maui Tropical Plantation in beautiful Waikapu, Maui on Saturday, July 21st.

    Wood Valley Coffee Co. from the Ka'u district received Grand Champion honors in the Commercial Category for those entries that had at least 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase as of the time of entry.

    Heavenly Hawaiian Farms from the Kona district received Grand Champion honors in the Creative Category for those entries that had less than 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase. The Creative Category encourages farmers to try new cultivation or processing methods without having to produce a commercial-level quantity of coffee.

    The coffees were 'cupped' and scored from a pool of 117 premium Hawaiian coffees, a 100% increase ....  

    Read the entire article

  • 11 Jul 2011 3:57 PM | Deleted user
    Hawaii Coffee Association Crowns 3rd Hawaiian Coffee Grand Champion

    At 16th Annual Conference on Big Island

    By Chris Manfredi, HCA, 07/11/2011

    - Waikoloa, Hawaii

    The Hawaii Coffee Association has crowned its third Grand Champion of Hawaiian Coffee at its 16th Annual Conference and Trade Show at the Hilton Waikoloa located on Kona’s Gold Coast. The HCA joined with Coffee Fest, a national coffee industry trade show to co-host the three-day event.

    Rusty's Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee received top honors for the second consecutive year in the competition between coffees entered from each growing origin in Hawaii. The coffees were 'cupped' and scored from a pool of 58 premium Hawaiian coffees from eight districts by a panel of six notable coffee industry professionals using standardized blind procedures. Awards were given to the top three entries from each origin as well as the Grand Champion award.

    Lorie Obra of Rusty's Hawaiian accepted the coveted HCA award presented by witty commentator and keynote speaker Howard Dicus. Lorie passionately expressed simultaneous joy and sorrow adding that she was emotionally torn between sadness and elation because her late husband and farm namesake, Rusty could not share the award while expressing joy over realizing his dream. "This is for my late husband, our....

    Read the entire article

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