The Independent Voice
“Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association
PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA
President Bondera Wearing a New Hat
HDOA CBB Pesticide Subsidy
CFAP Important Information
Disinfection and social Distancing Training
PPE for Your Farm
Burlap Bags $4.00 each at KCFA
Bees for Your Farm
Webinair: Food Exports in Global Markets
Discussion: COVID Effects on Coffee Economy
Recipe: Kona Coffee Barbeque Sauce
Editor – Clare Wilson
President Bondera Wearing a New hat
Aloha to All,
With a desire to have more substantive and useful agricultural capacity in the legislature, District 5 House Representative Creagan offered, and I have accepted, a position to serve as his Office Manager. This includes leading direction on future House Agriculture Committee areas of emphasis/foci.
My new hat/responsibilities mean that I will have new perspectives to offer to KCFA members. Together we can seek good decisions regarding priorities and/or paths to success in efforts taken. Primarily, this is a great opportunity not only for myself, but for Kona coffee to get more of the legislative support which it deserves.
Hats off to us all, if I do say.
HDOA CBB Pesticide Subsidy
Coffee Farmers- Apply for the HDOA CBB Pesticide Subsidy! The program is currently fully funded and Melanie Bondera is working (from home) to get your applications through. The coffee trees still need care, and it’s the critical time of year to spray Beauveria bassiana! So get your reimbursement from last year to fund this year’s Botaniguard and Mycotrol purchases. Start the online application at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QL9BQBY. Or go to https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/main/cbbsubsidy to download and print the pdf. You can email it in to firstname.lastname@example.org with scans or photos of your receipts from 7/1/18 – 6/30/19. If you prefer, call and request a paper application mailed to you (808) 323-7578. We will work with you to complete the application in a safe and socially distanced way (no in-person interview required during the pandemic). The reimbursement period for these receipts closes at the end of June 2020. Stay well!
–Submitted by Melanie Bondera
The Kona Coffee Farmers Association applied for and has received a $2,000 grant from the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture for COVID-19 Emergency Farmer Relief.
The grant money is intended to seed a fund that will be used to purchase green coffee from distressed member farms, roast and package that coffee as ‘KCFA member -100% Kona’ and sell it on line. The proceeds after expenses will be returned to the fund to continue the process.
At first, this fund is meant to help our most distressed members to market surplus green coffee in order to help finance the materials they will need to cultivate next season’s crop. In the long run, this fund is intended to eventually serve as a significant secondary market for many farmer’s product and serve as another member benefit for our association.
Please let us know if you have some green coffee you would like to sell and/or if you would like to volunteer to help the Association implement this effort. Email: Chet@cassandrafarms.com.
–Submitted by Chet Gardiner
Important Information about the CFAP
The USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has gone live and you may be wondering what this means for coffee. CFAP is a program that reimburses producers for lost sales due to COVID. When you look at the USDA website (https://www.farmers.gov/cfap) coffee does not currently have pricing listed in the index. We are negotiating with USDA to rectify this for the second tranche (round) of funding.
The USDA staff have told us that Value-Added (roasted) pricing is not eligible. In order to determine what coffee farmers can claim, we are working to establish pricing based on Kona Prime farm gate valuations for green coffee, which was $23 on the CFAP target date of January 15th. You can help this process by submitting a request to add green coffee at this price (or higher, for organic) into the program. To do so, go here:
Federal Rulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID FSA-2020-0004. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
The Hilo office of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be handling the paperwork submittals for this program. Growers who submit roasted coffee valuations will be rejected, so please use green pricing in your paperwork.
We will update with more information as it becomes available. Feel free to reach out to FSA with technical questions regarding this program. (https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Hawaii/index)
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner, Administrator of SHAC
Covid-19 No-Cost Training on Disinfection & Social Distancing
I am reaching out to you and your organizations out of concern that there are processing sites on the mainland that are closing due to their employees being infected by COVID-19. This causes an economic hardship and affects our food supply. We would like to avoid a similar situation on Hawai‘i Island. The Hawai‘i County Fire Department manages the County’s COVID Task Force on Education and Prevention and provides no-cost training and guidance to businesses on how to disinfect and practice social distancing. To schedule an on-site appointment, call County Civil Defense at 935-0031.
Glenn T. Sako
Hawaii County Research and Development
PPE for Your Farm in the Coronavirus Shortage
From The Western Integrated Pest Management Center:
As the coronavirus spread across the country and hospitals and clinics scrambled to secure personal protective equipment for their staffs, Agriculture started feeling the PPE shortage as well. Wearing PPE is required by law for people mixing or applying certain pesticides, and those mandates have not been lifted during the pandemic.
However, there are ways growers and pesticide applicators can and are coping. Here are some:
- Disposable N95 masks are in short supply, but applicators can choose from a list of more-protective respirators or breathing apparatus.
- Disposable coveralls may also be hard to find, but less-well-known brands or reusable coveralls can be substituted.
Here are some good resources:
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation produced a PPE substitution guide. (www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/whs/pdf/n95_alternatives_for_pesticide_handling.pdf)
The American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators published a resource list for seeking PPE (https://aapse.wildapricot.org/COVID-19PPE).
Be safe out there!
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner
KCFA Burlap Bags $4.00
Looks like an early season for coffee! We have KCFA Burlap Bags now located in south Kona. We’re moving our storage soon and would so appreciate you getting your Bags now so we have less to move.
Go to KonaCoffeeFarmers.org. Login and then go to Store: https://www.konacoffeefarmers.org/store/ (Members must log in to get Member prices.)
Scroll down the page. Our Burlap Bags are high quality and durable! Multiple uses from each one! Use for green, parchment and cherry (multiple times if you dry promptly). Support your KCFA and buy KCFA Bags now and help save our moving muscles😊! And don’t forget your Grainpro bags to protect the quality of your parchment.
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith
Bees for Your Farm
Big Island Queens, Inc. is a local Apiary (commercial beekeeper) located in South Kona. Big Island Queens specializes in raising queen bees for worldwide export which sustains the beekeeping industry and assists all farmers with ensuring their crops are sufficiently pollenated. Big Island Queens has partnered with local farmers in the West Hawai’i area for over 15 years, placing bees on both organic and conventional farms to aid in pollination and provide the forage necessary for the bees to produce world-class queens.
Bees have shown to be a huge asset to coffee farmers, increasing fruit retention, seed mass, and finally yielding up to 25% more mature fruit.
Big Island Queens values these partnerships with local farmers as having a variety of farms on which to host our bees allows for bees to be moved to areas where they are needed and where sources of food are readily available.
As the number of native pollinators decreases worldwide and honeybees continue to be threatened by new pests and challenges, it becomes increasingly important that apiaries continue to forge these partnerships with local farmers to provide pollination to crops and habitat for the assured production of queen bees and new colonies.
If you would be interested in hosting bees on your farm, please contact Big Island Queens at (808) 328-8388
Discussion re: COVID-19 Effects on Coffee economy
In the May issue of “The Independent Voice”, Carolyn Witcover wrote a detailed, useful article on COVID-19 effects on coffee economy.
Sandra Scarr commented:
In her helpful article about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on coffee prices, Carolyn Whitcover made a couple of points I dispute.
First, she says “a weak dollar makes it harder to sell into overseas markets.” Quite the contrary. A weaker dollar makes it easier to sell overseas, because the exchange rate is more favorable for local currencies.
Second, about the effect of the current oil glut on near future prices of oil-dependent products such as fertilizers and pesticides, she states, “If prices remain low, it’s possible that we will see shortages in oil dependent products. Shortages usually mean higher prices.” To the contrary: Lower oil prices because of the over-abundance of oil allows producers of oil-dependent products to produce more fertilizers and pesticides at lower cost and perhaps to offer consumers somewhat lower prices.
Here is Carolyn’s response:
I’m so glad she wrote in. I knew there were probably some misstatements or different takes, and that’s why I wanted to have a conversation around these issues. I do think low oil prices can affect producers negatively unless they keep prices at the same level. It’s also a question of demand. Will farmers still spend the same. I doubt savings get passed along.
It would be cool to have one of the UH Ag economists host a discussion of coffee economics and we could exchange our thoughts about where the market is going and perhaps some of the price setters could join in and tell us what they think at this stage. I did talk with Tom Greenwell and he said he talks a lot to his wholesalers before establishing prices. Well, since roasters are backed up with too much green right now I would guess that means lower cherry prices. However, specialty coffee might be able to maintain prices. But that depends on all those small shops out there who are either permanently closed or need to reduce costs at opening. I have no idea where demand for kona coffee will be but I suspect the reputation hasn’t changed. Affordability might be an issue. I suppose each segment (cherry, estate, wholesale) has different factors.
I hope some others weigh in with opinions/corrections.
From the editor: This is a good discussion about the economy in the time of COVID-19. Please feel free to add to the conversation.
Recipe – Kona Coffee Barbeque Sauce
1 cup double strength Kona coffee
1½ cups catsup
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp chili powder
Combine ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
Recipes Wanted! If any of you have coffee recipes that you would like to share, please submit them to the editor: email@example.com
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! >> Write to us. We welcome Letters to the Editor up to 150 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Include your name and email address >> Email: info@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org with SUBJECT: Commentary.