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Message of appreciation from the Rota Island Specialty Crop Association

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(RISCA) — The Rota Island Specialty Crop Association in collaboration with the Rota Mayor’s Office, 17th Rota Municipal Council, Indigenous Affairs Office, and Department of Lands and Natural Resources extends its appreciation to all its producer members and participants in attendance at the RISCA Conference held on July 15, 2020 in Sinapalo, Rota.

The conference featured valuable program information from local and federal agency representatives, including the Department of Lands and Natural Resources’ Rota Director David Calvo on the topic of Rota Mountain Coffee and its integration with local farms and Agriculture Director Jack Ogomuro on the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, NMC’s Cooperative Research, Educational and Extension Services Dr. Verma on coffee propagation and cultivation, CNMI Small Business Development Center Director Nicole Babauta on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program, and USDA Farm Service Agency Jamey Weakley on the Coronavirus Food Assistance and Reimbursement of Transportation Cost Programs.

Special thanks to the Honorable Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig for the conference opening remarks and expressed support for local food producers as confirmed by the Rota Municipal Council Members Honorable Chairwoman Lucy Manglona, Simeon Taisacan and DCCA Resident Director Dwayne Maratita.  Additional thanks to the DCCA, mayor’s and municipal council staff, and Indigenous Affairs Office for their assistance coordinating the conference and event logistics.

RISCA extends its appreciation to Rota Legislative Delegation Senators Paul Manglona, Victor Hocog, Teresita Santos, and Representative Donald Manglona for their support and appropriation of $100,000 for RISCA to benefit the farming, fishing, and artisan community.  And si yu’us ma’ase to all local producers for participating in the event and completing membership and survey forms to inform your association of local producer activities and needs.

The 2020 RISCA Board of Directors elected on July 15th and 17th are President Ivan Mereb, Vice President Cris Ogo, Secretary Thomas Songsong, Treasurer Jared Inselmann, and Members Norbert Mundo, Felix Mendiola and Paterno Hocog who will promote RISCA’s mission and objectives.  RISCA seeks to make best use of its limited funds to benefit its community of producers as a whole which is comprised on crop cultivators, livestock producers (including fish), fishermen and women, food processors, artisans and entrepreneurs.  Certain agricultural tools such as a compact tractor, crushed ice machine for fish, and food processing machine are several examples of equipment suggested by its members.  A local farmers market and/or producer market with a community kitchen for food processing is RISCA’s ultimate goal which it feels is essential for promoting local producers and improved community access.

As a reminder to RISCA agriculture crop producers, RISCA is an organic and natural farming association that is pesticide/insecticide-free, week killer herbicide-free, and does not use chemical-based fertilizers.  Building and nurturing healthy living soils with beneficial soil microorganisms and mycorrhizal fungi is essential for healthy crops, and using beneficial pollinators and predatory insects for improved yields and natural biological pest control which eliminates the need to use dangerous chemical hazardous to human health.  A future workshop on growing organic, building healthy living soils and using native beneficial pollinators and predatory insects is in planning.

RISCA Board of Directors looks forward to serving our community of food and craft producers.    

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