Pacific Biodiesel President Bob King talks all things equipment and technology with the engaged audience.

Maui County’s Director of Agriculture “Kali” Arce encouraged the students to consider the varied careers agriculture can offer.

Partnering with Hawaii Agricultural Foundation’s In the Fields program, Pacific Biodiesel welcomed a group of nearly 50 Maui High School Ag students and their teachers to the Maui Sunflower Farm operated by our founders Bob and Kelly King. Held on March 2, the tour included a variety of hands-on activities designed to feature the company’s regenerative farming operation to produce “food then fuel” for Hawaii.

Following a brief introduction about Pacific Biodiesel by Marketing Director Joy Galatro, special guests Maui County’s Director of Agriculture Rogerene “Kali” Arce and Deputy Director Koa Hewahewa addressed the group.

Students then helped plant and mulch sugarcane as a windbreak on the farm; the cane will be harvested by the Sugarcane Dane team for use in the production of their locally made tropical syrups. The students also planted jalapeño and habanero seeds for the peppers that are farmed at the site for HI Spice’s locally made hot sauces.

Students received an introduction to farming equipment, including the company’s combine harvester, and learned how technology is currently incorporated in its farming practices from Pacific Biodiesel president Bob King. Another of the day’s highlights was a walk to the blooming field of Maui sunflowers for photos.
Click here to watch the Instagram Reel featuring the Maui High School Ag students taking part in the farm tour activities.

Hawaii Ag Foundation’s Pam Kaneshiro, who helped organize the field trip, sent a note following the day’s events. “On behalf of HAF and our Maui teachers, we thank Pacific Biodiesel and your team for your generosity and participation in our In the Fields program,” she wrote. “Both HAF and Pacific Biodiesel share similar missions, with hands on visits to farms as yours, we also hope to inspire students to consider agriculture as their future career. To have our keiki choose to remain in Hawaii and continue on with our mission will truly be a win, win for all.”

The In the Fields Partnership Program was launched in 2014 to introduce local high school students to the agricultural industry and the diversity of careers available in it. By partnering with the Department of Education’s (DOE) Career Technical Education office and small farms throughout the state, the Hawaiʻi Agricultural Foundation (HAF) works to foster and maintain a strong workforce needed to grow and sustain farming in Hawaiʻi.

Other recent educational tours hosted by Pacific Biodiesel include farm visits with Maui Huliau Leadership Council and Iaō Intermediate School as well as a tour of the Hawaii Island biodiesel refinery and crushing mill for Hawaii Community College students.

Planting with “Sugarcane Dane”.

Souvenir sunflowers wave out the bus windows.

Students and staff gather for a celebratory group shot at the end of a busy day at the Maui Sunflower Farm.