Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Hilo Research Feed Mill Now Operational

Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Hilo Research Feed Mill Now Operational

New feed mill on Hawai‘i Island aims to facilitate the research necessary to help catalyze Hawai‘i’s livestock and aquaculture industries

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Oceanic Institute (OI) has opened an innovative feed mill in Hilo to evaluate the efficacy of local feed ingredients in an effort to provide local farmers with cheaper animal feed. Located at the Panaewa Agricultural Park in Hilo on a one-acre parcel, the feed mill aims to facilitate the development of experimental feeds. Through the incorporation of local ingredients from dedicated supply chains from agriculture businesses (e.g. corn, soy, alfalfa), as well as co-products or waste streams from agriculture, fisheries and biodiesel sectors (e.g. papaya, algae), both aquaculture and land-based agriculture stand to benefit from the innovation piloted at the feed mill.
Opened with the generous donations of Ulupono Initiative and $250,000 from  McInerny Foundation, as well as with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, the feed mill was designed to be a proof-of-concept operation to attract commercial mills by demonstration of viability.

“With an estimated 85 percent reliance on imported foods in Hawai‘i, the state’s food-supply chain is vulnerable,” said Shaun Moss, Executive Director, Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University. “External forces have the potential to disrupt food from reaching our island shores. The opening of this facility represents an important step in Hawai‘i’s progression to food self-sufficiency and food security.”

OI’s research feed mill is designed to allow for the evaluation of a variety of locally sourced ingredients and optimization of feed processing techniques to produce animal feeds which promote good animal performance. OI’s feed mill is unique, as no similar facility exists in the U.S. Pacific region which targets the use of tropical and sub-tropical ingredients. Additionally, no similar facility exists in the U.S. for research on aquaculture ingredients and feed development. Importantly, OI’s feed mill will be used as a platform to train college-level students enrolled at Hawai`i Pacific University or the University of Hawai‘i in an effort to produce the next generation of feed mill operators. The facility also will be used to hold training workshops, international training programs, and short courses related to feed processing, as well as to showcase next generation feed mill technology. Ultimately, OI’s feed mill will be used to generate valuable information about the economic viability of a commercial feed mill to serve the needs of Hawai‘i’s farmers. If this can be accomplished, we will have moved Hawai‘i towards greater food self-sufficiency and enhanced food security.

“Ulupono Initiative helped finance this innovative feed mill operation because of its great potential as a sustainable model for increasing local feed availability, which directly aligns with our mission to increase local food production and promote Hawai‘i’s food security,” said Ulupono Initiative General Partner Kyle Datta. “The competitiveness of Hawai‘i-based beef, dairy, poultry, fish, and hog operations is highly dependent on the availability of local feed. Our investment specifically funded the installation of equipment to automate and make the plant more productive, efficient and economically viable.”