East Hawaii News

$5M Hilo Feed Research Lab Moving Forward

June 11, 2014, 12:06 PM HST
* Updated June 11, 2:25 PM
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Construction of a new facility for the research and production of animal feed could begin in Hilo this fall, according to a recently released study.

The Feed Research and Pilot Production Facility is being developed by the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University with state and federal funding.

According to the project’s environmental assessment, the facility would be constructed on a one-acre parcel in the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s 110-acre Farm Laboratory in the Panaewa Agricultural Park.

The research would develop feed for both aquaculture and terrestrial animals.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo last month issued a “finding of no significant impact” for the project.

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It would explore the use of local ingredients including kukui nut, papaya, molasses, algae, coconut and slaughterhouse and seafood processing by-products.

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In addition to research into formulation of feeds, the facility will also test methods for commercial production of the products.

Hilo Feedmill Artist Drawing 1-1

An artist’s rendering of the proposed feeds research facility. Oceanic Institute image.

Funding of the $5 million project would come from the US Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The project is designed to reduce Hawaii’s independence on imported animal feed. The document said Hawaii’s farmers spent $31.7 million on feed in 2012, all of it brought in from out of state.

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The EA said while it would not actually produce feed on a commercial basis, it would show that the concept is viable and could attract commercial mills to the state.

The project’s research feeds would have a variety of users, including UH and UH-Hilo, the US Department of Agriculture’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, the USDA’s Center for Tropical & Subtropical Aquaculture and other research institutions including Texas A&M University, Kansas State University, University of Guam, American Samoa Community College and Kagoshima University in Japan.

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