Our Islands, Our Future

The well-attended U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hybrid workshop, sponsored by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and USDA, brought together an inter-island team of specialists to advise Maui residents seeking to know more about energy efficiency programs, loans, and grants. The USDA Rural Development initiative operates over 50 financial assistance programs for a variety of rural applications in housing, business and critical infrastructure.

“I thought the workshop provided very helpful information on a number of federal grant and loan programs,” said Michele McLean, representative for Council Chair Alice Lee. “The USDA supports farms and ranches for solar, wind or energy efficiency; business or marketing plans; working capital for value-added products; disaster and drought assistance for crops and livestock; organic certification; and operations, ownership and manufacturing. MEDB hosting the workshop was an important contribution in providing this information to those who will benefit from it.”

Denise Salmeron, USDA Business Programs Director, explained, “Our mission is to increase opportunities and quality of life throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the nation, We have USDA personnel available on Maui and other islands to assist with the application process.”

Walter Enomoto, Hawaii Energy Maui County Manager, noted, “Our organization helps educate island families and businesses about the many and lasting benefits of energy efficiency and conservation. We encourage and reward smart energy decisions that allow our state to reach 100% clean energy faster and cheaper, while lowering energy costs.”

Workshop participant Gigi Voiland from Johnny V. Enterprise said, “I came today to learn about the programs available to help my ag business. I have a four-acre farm in Kaupo and I need solar to get everything to run. I am so grateful to MEDB for hosting this workshop with such valuable information on every level.”

Participant Ron Viloria added, “I learned about Hawaii Energy rebates, USDA opportunities such as Farm Loan Programs, and financing from the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority. MEDB reaches out and alerts the public about seminar and workshop opportunities that engage members of the community in a genuine and helpful way. Their wide variety of programs, networking events, and workshops have touched thousands of people.”

You can view the replay at

“We conduct regular one-on-one and group consultations to help individuals get their financial numbers and details together that they will need to apply for a USDA loan or grant.” For more information, visit OR email Gary Albitz, MEDB Business Program Manager