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  • 13 May 2020 2:52 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article

    The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) and the Pacific Urban Resilience Lab (PURL) at the University of Hawaii, supported by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and community partners, conducts research and develops training courses for first responders and emergency mangers. They are conducting this brief survey on the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Hawaii. The information from this survey will be used to understand the spread and impacts of the infection. WE ENCOURAGE ALL RESIDENTS TO TAKE OR RETAKE THE SURVEY AS CIRCUMSTANCES MAY HAVE CHANGED. We hope that you can help to distribute the questionnaire more widely. They need to hear more from neighbor island communities and from high risk and under-represented groups. The questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete and your participation is Voluntary.

    For more information about the survey see the attached PDF.

    Here is the SURVEY.

    If you have any question regarding this research project, please contact:

    Eric Yamashita (
    Jiwnath Ghimire (
    National Disaster Preparedness Training Center
    Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa
    2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA.
    Phone number: 808-956-5007


    Marcia Yoshiyama
    Marcia Yoshiyama
    Economic Development Technician
    County of Hawaii
    Department of Research and 
    25 Aupuni Street, Room 1301
    Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
    Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
    Direct Line: (808) 961-8085

  • 05 May 2020 8:43 AM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    The following pamphlet, called “A Guide for Our Community,” was developed to provide information of what programs are available, including financial assistance, food assistance, medical assistance, help for seniors and other resources. 

    If you are an essential business that is open at this time and would like to provide the guide to your customers and staff, please email with your mailing address and the number of copies, and we will mail you copies.

    Find help for your small business at

  • 05 May 2020 8:40 AM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    “For more than 30 years, SBA has been prohibited by law from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses; however, as a result of the unprecedented legislation enacted by President Trump, American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital,” said Administrator Carranza. “These low-interest, long-term loans will help keep agricultural businesses viable while bringing stability to the nation’s vitally important food supply chains.”

    Agricultural businesses include businesses engaged in the legal production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)). Eligible agricultural businesses must have 500 or fewer employees.

    The SBA will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

    To prepare your application, review this webinar on EIDL and reference this helpful tutorial video that walks through the application process, step by step.

    For more information, please visit:

  • 29 Apr 2020 2:27 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article

    Release Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

    Release Number: 20-35

    Contact:, (202) 205-7036

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and U.S. Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza issued the following statement today on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):

    “The Paycheck Protection Program is providing critical support to millions of small businesses and tens of millions of hardworking Americans.

    “We have noted the large number of companies that have appropriately reevaluated their need for PPP loans and promptly repaid loan funds in response to SBA guidance reminding all borrowers of an important certification required to obtain a PPP loan.  To further ensure PPP loans are limited to eligible borrowers, the SBA has decided, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, that it will review all loans in excess of $2 million, in addition to other loans as appropriate, following the lender’s submission of the borrower’s loan forgiveness application.  Regulatory guidance implementing this procedure will be forthcoming.

    “We remain fully committed to ensuring that America’s workers and small businesses get the resources they need to get through this challenging time.”

    Continue Reading...

  • 27 Apr 2020 3:49 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)
    Original Source

    Recently enacted federal legislation provides resources and initiatives to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This guide provides summary information about major provisions that could offer critical support to Hawaii's agriculture industry.


  • 17 Apr 2020 8:22 AM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article


    Office of Legislative Affairs


    DHS and USDA Move to Protect American Farmers and Ensure Continued Flow of America’s Food Supply

    Department to Temporarily Amend Certain H-2A Requirements During COVID-19 National Emergency

    The Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. These temporary flexibilities will not weaken or eliminate protections for U.S. workers. 

    Under this temporary final rule, an H-2A petitioner with a valid temporary labor certification who is concerned that workers will be unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions can start employing certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status in the United States immediately after United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the H-2A petition, but no earlier than the start date of employment listed on the petition. To take advantage of this time-limited change in regulatory requirements, the H-2A worker seeking to change employers must already be in the United States and in valid H-2A status.

    Additionally, USCIS is temporarily amending its regulations to protect the country’s food supply chain by allowing H-2A workers to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the United States. These temporary changes will encourage and facilitate the continued lawful employment of foreign temporary and seasonal agricultural workers during the COVID-19 national emergency. Agricultural employers should utilize this streamlined process if they are concerned with their ability to bring in the temporary workers who were previously authorized to work for the employer in H-2A classification. At no point is it acceptable for employers to hire illegal aliens. 

    “This Administration has determined that continued agricultural employment, currently threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, is vital to maintaining and securing the country’s critical food supply chain. The temporary changes announced by USCIS provide the needed stability during this unprecedented crisis,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. 

    “USDA welcomes these additional flexibilities provided by the Department of Homeland Security today,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Providing flexibility for H-2A employers to utilize H-2A workers that are currently in the United States is critically important as we continue to see travel and border restrictions as a result of COVID-19. USDA continues to work with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor and the Department of State to minimize disruption and make sure farmers have access to these critical workers necessary to maintain the integrity in our food supply.”

    The temporary final rule is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. If the new petition is approved, the H-2A worker will be able to stay in the United States for a period of time not to exceed the validity period of the Temporary Labor Certification. DHS will issue a new temporary final rule in the Federal Register to amend the termination date of these new procedures in the event DHS determines that circumstances demonstrate a continued need for the temporary changes to the H-2A regulations.

    The H-2A nonimmigrant classification applies to alien workers seeking to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in the United States, usually lasting no longer than one year, for which able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers are not available.

    # # #

    Connect with DHS:
    Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  LinkedIn  |  Flickr  |  YouTube

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • 15 Apr 2020 9:11 AM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

    Original Source of the Article

    UHERO and Chambers of Commerce across Hawaii are partnering to field a new survey to study the economic impact of COVID-19 on Hawaii businesses. The survey is being fielded in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Kauai Chamber of Commerce, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Maui Chamber of Commerce, and Molokai Chamber of Commerce.

    Businesses can click here to take the survey, which measures changes in employment and employee wages, revenue, application rates for U.S. Small Business Administration loans and business outlook.

    “The information from this survey will help UHERO analyze the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on businesses and households statewide, and to better assess our existing projections,” said UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham. “This type of geographic and industrially-detailed information is not available from any traditional data source in real time, and it will be invaluable to our ongoing work.”

    “We know that Hawaii businesses are suffering due to COVID-19 impacts. Accurate data on what businesses are experiencing will allow us to shape our continued response and put resources where the Sherry Menor-McNamara, President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii said. “This survey will also give us a foundation to plan for economic recovery and identify industries that need more assistance. Mahalo to our partners at UHERO for developing this valuable tool.”

    Contact: Philip Garboden at 215-880-7715 or

    Businesses Can Take Survey at

  • 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

    Click here for more COVID-19 Resources
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