Young and emerging farmers graduating from GoFarm Hawaii are now eligible for a cash injection to help set up their own agricultural businesses.

A$1 million grant, delivered through University of Hawaii Manoa, will be divvied out to fledgling farmers in a scheme that matches their investments, with a maximum of $25,000.

Enticing a new generation into farming has been a key concern for Hawaii’s agricultural sector, as the average age of the state’s farmers is 60, but the cost and profitability of farming has become one of several impediments.

The grant program is part of UH’s use of a $3 million gift from American AgCredit and CoBank, and can be used to purchase land, equipment or to fund operating costs.

UH Waimanalo Farm Hawaii grown Farmers Instructors.
Bringing new farmers into Hawaii’s agricultural sector has been considered a key step to ensuring the state improves its food self-sufficiency. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Dean Nicholas Comerford says the grant will help ensure greater security for Hawaii in the long term, considering it currently imports the lion’s share of its food, as well as help fuel economic growth.

“This grant enables our GoFarm Hawaii graduates to build farming businesses that benefit all of us here in Hawaii,” Comerford said in a press release Thursday.

Since GoFarm Hawaii was started in 2013, 480 participants have graduated, many of which are now farming across Hawaii’s islands.

“Hawaii Grown” is funded in part by grants from the Ulupono Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Frost Family Foundation. 

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