BFRDP Projects

Beginning Farmer-Rancher Training Program: Hawaii Island
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $564,000
Grant Program: 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Melanie Willich
Organization: The Kohala Center


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

While Hawai'i has abundant agricultural lands and a 12-month growing season, the state imports >80% of its food from markets located at least 2,300 miles away. Despite the increasing interest in local food production, farms have a hard time becoming established due to a lack of farming and business knowledge and the inability to access start-up capital. The objectives of this project are to (1) train beginning farmers/ranchers, with a particular focus on socially disadvantaged farmers, (2) facilitate access to financial and production input resources, including farm leases and microloans, and (3) expand TKC's online database of resources. We initially developed  a 20-session training program, including 39 hr of classroom instruction, 30 hr of on-farm instruction, and 36 hr of farm visits. The total program comprised of 188 hr, including BFRDP-supported workshops islandwide. A total of 16 participants graduated from the 2017 cohort. Fifteen additional islandwide public lectures/workshops attracted 435 community members. Technical assistance was provided by TKC's Rural Cooperative Business Development Services (RCBDS) team to 16 individuals/businesses of which 3 were program participants. Addressing evaluation feedback, we adjusted our training program in 2018 to a 18-session format that includes 45 hr of classroom instruction, 45 hr of on-farm instruction, and 30 hr of farm visits. Sessions were held twice a month (every other Saturday) from 9 am to 3 pm. For graduation, participants fill additional 68 hr instead of the 83 hr in 2017 with additional workshops supported by the BFRDP or offered through CTAHR or other appropriate agriculture-related workshops, online education, business planning, and farm internships and development, depending on the individual participant's needs. In addition to the 13 classroom sessions (45 hr), five workshops were offered at the partner site in Kona. A total of 15 individuals/businesses received technical assistance through The Kohala Center's RCBDS team in 2018.

Number of Participants: 31


Promotional Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success