N. Marianas Islands Report
SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Northern Mariana Islands
January 1 - December 31, 2014
Summary of 2014 State/Protectorate PDP Activities and Results:
In 2014, the food scientist at the Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services (NMC-CREES) provided meat processing training and HACCP workshops to local meat processors and the Tinian Cattleman Association after he had attended an intensive meat processing HACCP workshop at Pennsylvania State University. The new PDP coordinator was appointed to provide the professional development program to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and made efforts to continue to develop the agricultural professional program. The PDP coordinator promoted and advertised the Western SARE PDP Program and other grant opportunities to local farmers and producers through the 2014 Saipan Agricultural Fair and 2014 Rota Agricultural Fair. However, the budget for 2013 CNMI PDP program had not been spent since the new PDP coordinator did not fully understand the budget expenditure procedure and he requested for no-cost extension and budget revision.
Context and Overview:
Although a variety of produce is harvested in the CNMI, these local produce are sold in local markets for only domestic consumption, as no fruits and vegetables are exported to outside markets due to quarantine restrictions from the melon fly, which is found on all of the islands in the CNMI. For this reason, the new CNMI PDP coordinator has endeavored to provide various value-added processing technologies to the local farmers and producers. The PDP coordinator made efforts to provide conditions to conduct basic and applied research on alternative food processing technologies and to develop value-added products using local agricultural commodities. These alternative food processing technologies could easily be developed and gradually transferred to local processors in order to create additional profits for local farmers and producers. The production of value-added fruit products is still undeveloped and limited in the CNMI; however, it can be a promising industry to generate a beneficial economic influence and a key element for local economy by increasing producers' income and providing jobs to this community. In addition, the CNMI PDP program, with NMC-CREES Food Safety Program, has provided practical value-adding processing and food safety workshops to farmers, producers, and food processors.
Activities and Methods:
The following professional developments were conducted under 2014 Western SARE PDP program.
- Rota Agricultural Fair (March 2014) – 400 participants
- Participated in the Ag Infrastructure Conference in Guam (April 2014)
- Western SARE PDP Coordinator meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska (July 2014)
- 2015 Western SARE Grant Explanatory Session in Saipan, Rota, and Tinian (October 2014) – 45 participants attended.
- Meat Processing HACCP Workshops in Saipan and Tinian (October and November 2014)
- 2014 Yam Festival in Saipan (December 2014) - Advertised Western SARE PDP program
Upcoming events funded under the 2013 PDP program (No-cost extension)
- Rota Agricultural Fair and Ag Summit (March 2015)
- CNMI Ag Profession Tour to 2015 Seoul Food, Global Natural Foods & Machinery Industry Exhibition in Korea (May 2015)
- 2015 Tinian Agricultural Fair and Summit (May 2015)
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products:
Flyers for 2015 Western SARE Grant Explanatory Session in Saipan, Rota, and Tinian to present how to apply Western SARE grants such as Farmer/Rancher Grant and Professional + Producer Grant.
Advertisements in 2015 Rota and Tinian Agricultural Fair Pamphlets to provide information on Western SARE PDP program and available grants to the public.
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Intention, and Action:
HACCP for Meat Processing workshops were held to provide intensive HACCP training to the quality assurance personnel at Marianas Meat Harvest Company (a local USDA approved slaughtering facility) and Tinian Cattleman Association with the livestock improvement program coordinator. There were the following impacts on the participants in this training: 1) the participants in this training stated that the training was satisfactory in contents of the presentation and found the workshops very informative with regards to HACCP implementation in the slaughtering and meat processing. 2) The QA team at the Marianas Meat Harvest Company has applied the knowledge and referred to the training material folder during the operation. And also the Tinian Cattleman Association and the livestock improvement program coordinator are using the HACCP knowledge and training materials to establish small meat processing facility in Tinian. 3) Accordingly the intensive HACCP training on the slaughtering and meat processing have tremendously changed and improved their safe food handling practices.
The partnership with USDA NRCS, Commonwealth Development Authority, Farm Service Agency, CNMI Department of Agriculture, and CNMI Department of Land and Natural Resources in all our events had proven to support not only the professionals but also the end stakeholders - the farmers and ranchers - in attaining their goals for sustainable farming.
The inclusion of youth programs in promoting sustainable agriculture with the assistance of other NMC-CREES programs is indeed a remarkable start of great collaboration.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation:
We had an Agriculture Advisory Council a few years ag;, however, the council has not called any meeting recently. However, Western SARE CNMI PDP program continues to collaborate with the CNMI Department of Agriculture, Department of Land and Natural Resources, USDA NRCS, local farmers market association, and other agriculture extension agents. In addition agriculture extension agents and program coordinators are providing valuable information to develop the state Professional Development Program. In the near future, the CNMI Agriculture Advisory Council will be resumed to develop a still-better state PDP program.
Attachments available from Western SARE PDP or the CNMI SARE coordinator upon request:
I. Evaluation Instrument(s) and Results:
- HACCP Evaluation 1 and 2
- HACCP Workshop Agenda
- HACCP1 and 2 (Power point handout)
- HACCP Workshop 1, 2, and 3
- 2014 Rota Ag Fair 1, 2, and 3
II. Educational/Informational Materials Produced
III. Photos (jpeg or slide)
In 2014, new CNMI PDP coordinator was on board the Western SARE Professional Development Program. The coordinator could not take over the duties and responsibilities of the state PDP coordinator in a proper manner. The 2013 PDP project account was not activated and set up until late 2014 and the state coordinator had to request the no-cost extension until December 2015. The CNMI PDP program continued to make efforts to promote the sustainable agriculture through many local agricultural events such as agricultural fairs and agriculture summits to collect various thoughts and concerns from local farmers and ranchers. The CNMI PDP program also provided information on SARE grants to the public through the explanatory presentation. In addition, the CNMI PDP coordinator has endeavored to provide various value-added processing technologies and food safety training such as HACCP to the local agriculture professionals. It is expected that these professional development activities will encourage agricultural professionals to initiate and educate local farmers and ranchers as well as homemakers to create new alternative businesses that will be sustainable and beneficial to the community and family.