Mahi Pono director appointed to ADC Board

June 30, 2023 | State Ag Notes June Newsletter
Jayson Watts

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.


Maui Harvest sweet onions coming soon to stores near you

Our seasonal onion harvest is underway, and we’ve partnered with Armstrong Produce, Kula Produce, and Sun Fresh Hawaii to distribute these onions to local retailers! Maui Harvest sweet onions will be available for sale at Tamura’s, Target, and ABC Stores beginning May 24, 2023.  Additional retailers will be online soon!