The University of Hawaii at Mānoa received a $2 million pledge from American AgCredit (AAC) and CoBank to support the GoFarm Hawaii program, which assists struggling farmers across the country while promoting agricultural sustainability.
This development program from the university’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) was created to make agricultural ventures simpler and more accessible for farmers. It provides them with business technical assistance, educational opportunities, and an array of resources that can increase efficiency.
“Food sustainability and economic diversification are key post-pandemic priorities for our state,” UH President David Lassner said. “This strategic philanthropic investment from AAC and CoBank provides a major boost to our state’s next generation of farmers and our agricultural community statewide.”
GoFarm Hawaii, which operates at five training sites across the state and has an agricultural technician training program at the Waiawa Correctional Facility, is part of the 2050 Sustainability Plan which seeks to “double local food production by 2030.”
“Hawaii imports about 85–90% of its food, making it particularly vulnerable to disruptions in food supply,” said CTAHR Dean Nicholas Comerford.
“Our GoFarm Hawaii program addresses this by providing farmers with the tools they need to be successful, and expanding our local food supply—a necessity for our entire community,” he added.
One of the ways this program delivered on its objective was when the pandemic hit. When the markets started to close, local farmers and their customers were trying to figure out how to continue the exchange of goods and services. GoFarm started Find Your Farmer, which lists local farmers that can offer their fresh produce through home delivery.
This $2 million donation has combined the contributions of AAC and CoBank, corporations that are members of the nationwide Farm Credit System.
“Everyone in American agriculture understands the need to grow and develop the next generation of farmers and ranchers,” said CoBank Farm Credit Banking Group Executive Vice President Bill Davis. “It is absolutely critical for the industry and for the country as a whole. GoFarm Hawaii has a proven a successful model for engaging beginning farmers and, together with our partners at AAC, we are delighted to be a part of their continued success.”