Mahi Pono director appointed to ADC Board

June 30, 2023 | State Ag Notes June Newsletter

The Board of Directors for the State Agribusiness Development Corporation recently added three new members.

Appointed by the governor, Jason Okuhama, Karen Seddon and Jayson Watts were confirmed by the State Senate this past legislative session. They will serve on the 10-member ADC board along with current members: board chair Warren Watanabe, Glenn Hong, Lyle Tabata, State Department of Agriculture Chair Sharon Hurd, State Commission on Water Resource Management Deputy Director Kaleo Manuel, and State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Deputy Director Dane Wicker.

JASON OKUHAMA - Mr. Okuhama is the Managing Partner of Commercial and Business Lending, specializing in USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Rural Development, and U.S. Small Business Administration loan programs, as well as commercial real estate and residential financing. His term on the board runs until June 30, 2027.

KAREN SEDDON - Ms. Seddon currently sits as the Regional Vice President of Hawai‘i at EAH Housing. She has decades of real estate and affordable housing experience and has

previously served as the Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Housing and Finance Development Corporation (HHFDC). Her term on the board will run until June 30, 2027.

JAYSON WATTS - Mr. Watts currently sits on boards of the Maui County Farm Bureau and the Hawai‘i Food Industry Association and serves as Director of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at Mahi Pono, LLC. Before joining Mahi Pono, Watts served many years in various government and agricultural policy roles as special assistant to the Director of the Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, senior advisor to two Hawai‘i Lieutenant Governors, and the Assistant Sergeant at Arms of the Hawai‘i State Senate. His term runs until June 30, 2025.

“We are grateful to have these three with their extensive background and expertise join our board of directors,” said ADC acting executive director Mark Takemoto. “Their experience and input will be instrumental in helping keep ADC and Hawai‘i’s agriculture industry moving forward.”

The ADC board of directors meets monthly during the third Thursday of each month.


Mahi Pono announces partnership with GoFarm Hawai'i to support the expansion of agricultural education on Maui

Mahi Pono, a Maui farming company that owns and operates 41,000 acres in Central Maui, is pleased to announce its partnership with GoFarm Hawai‘i, an extension program of the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). Mahi Pono will lease 15 acres of its West Maui agricultural land to GoFarm Hawai‘i for its successful statewide farmer-development training program aimed at increasing the state’s agricultural workforce.
GoFarm Hawai‘i partnership seeks to build Hawaiʻi’s next generation of farmers. PC: file photo University of Hawaiʻi.