Moran Embarks on Hawaii Farming Experience | Texas

Washington County 4-Her Madison Moran recently took a trip she’ll never forget when she embarked on a farming experience in Hawaii through the Texas Youth Livestock and Agriculture program as a Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador.

This program strives to provide high school age 4-H members with the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills related to mentoring other youth and becoming advocates for animal agriculture.

Moran became a Certified Ambassador three years ago and attended the Ag Advocacy opportunity at the State Capitol last summer. This year she applied for another stage of the TYLA program and was chosen as an attendee and one of 30 youth from the state of Texas.

This experience took them on an 11-day adventure to four Hawaiian Islands, including O’ahu, the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai. Youth and sponsors were able to see many iconic Hawaiian tourism sites such as Pearl Harbor National Monument, volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches, beautiful greenery, and an authentic Hawaiian Luau, but these were just a few of the highlights of the trip.

The packed itinerary for this farming experience included many opportunities to delve into the variety of Hawaiian agriculture. On O’ahu, students were able to conduct a geographic survey on the Waikiki Historic Trail and an aquatic survey to support research on Waikiki Beach.

A trip to the United Fisheries Agency allowed them to see the Honolulu Fish Auction in action. A visit to Kualoa Ranch provided an overview of agricultural tourism and diversified agriculture in Hawaii.

Kualoa is a 4,000-acre private nature reserve and working cattle ranch, as well as a popular tourist attraction and film location on Hawaii’s windward coast of O’ahu. Students heard from the CEO of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and toured the Corteva Farm and Research Center, which works to help farmers in Hawaii and around the world with cutting-edge farming technology and practices.

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They explored the Kupu-Kuilima Farm, which is an agricultural facility dedicated to providing fresh produce to local families and restaurants and supporting local food initiatives.

The Big Island of Hawaii allowed for an even greater variety of farming experiences. Green Point Nurseries offered information on growing beautiful Hawaiian foliage and flowers.

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm and Hilo Orchard Farm showcased growing, harvesting and selling some of Hawaii’s famous nuts and fruits. The Big Island also offered tours of the Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables to learn about the Hawaiian cowboy.

A former secretary of agriculture spoke about the regulatory environment in Hawaiian agriculture and seeing ranching operations at Parker Ranch, Kuahiwi Ranch and Kapapala Ranch gave insight into ranching and ranching operations in Hawaii. Most cattle are grass fed and take many months to mature for market.

Students toured Big Island Abalone to learn about one of the world’s most prized seafood, Hawaii Natural Energy Laboratory, and Kona Brewing Company. Panalu’u Bake Shop shared about Hawaiian sweet bread along with coffee production at Ka’u Coffee Mill.

Maui offered a day trip to Kaleakala Ranch. As partners in the Maui Cattle Company, they help supply the community with healthy, natural grass-fed beef and holistic grazing practices that help control invasive species.

Toured by Mahi Pono, a local Maui agricultural company that owns and operates approximately 41,000 acres of farmland in central Maui that grows sugarcane.

The Island of Kauai offered tours of the Grove Fam, Makauwahi Cave Preserve and Forests, Kekah Shade Houses, all of which provided a historical perspective on Kauai’s land, agriculture and culture. Students studied the shrimp industry in Hawaii at Kauai Shrimp and visited Wamea Canyon and heard from the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.

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Tours over the past few days included a trip to Lydgate Farms to learn about cocoa bean and chocolate production, the Kilohana Plantation, the Kukui Grover Center and Kauai coffee production, as well as Allerton Gardens and the National Wildlife Refuge. Sylvester Hanalei.

This trip offered so much diversity and knowledge of agriculture in a state at the national level, but so different from agriculture seen in the regions in which we live. This multi-Hawaiian island experience covered agriculture in a myriad of settings and categories, including livestock production, wildlife, shrimp and other seafood farming, flower and nursery production, and cocoa, chocolate, coffee, macadamia and orchards.

This experience was truly a once-in-a-lifetime educational agricultural experience for Moran and other future Texas agricultural leaders.

TYLA is led by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service based in College Station, Texas and supported by key agricultural entities throughout the state.

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