University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
UH Seal The founding college of the University of Hawai‘i, established 1907 Site Search | Directory
Skip BreadcrumbHome >> Our College >> Impact Stories >> Story

The Farmer on the Garden Isle

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 04/14/2016 More stories >>

Roy Oyama stands with his wife Gladys to be honored
with 4-H’s “Gifts to the Alii” presentation at the 2007 4-H Aha‘olelo.

Roy Oyama stands with his wife Gladys to be honored with 4-H’s “Gifts to the Alii” presentation at the 2007 4-H Aha‘olelo.

Roy Oyama finds farming relaxing, he recently commented. Maybe, compared with his other ag-related achievements and activities, it is. Owner of Oyama Farms, Roy is also past president of the Kauai Farm Bureau, the Kauai Farmers Association, and the Kauai Farmers Association Development. He’s a past or present member of the Kauai County Water Department Board, the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation Board, West Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District Board, Hawai‘i 4-H Foundation Board, and the Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i 4-H Livestock Boards.

Most recently celebrated, along with his family, for important contributions to agriculture at last year’s Kaua‘i Farm Fair, Roy has also been honored with 4-H Hawai‘i’s “Gifts to the Alii” presentation, given to those who symbolize the highest type of leadership in Hawai‘i, at the 2007 4-H Aha‘olelo conference. Even more impressively, he was recognized by the Kauai Museum as a Living Treasure in 2005 for his agricultural achievements.

The Oyama family was honored during the opening
ceremonies of the 2015 Kaua‘I Farm Fair.

The Oyama family was honored during the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Kaua‘i Farm Fair.
Photo: Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

He’s done a lot to merit these awards. A staunch supporter of everything ag-related, he offers extra produce from his farm to those in need, helped to organize a conference on sustainable agriculture in the Islands, was instrumental in establishing the Kaua‘i Farmer’s Market, and helped to revitalize the state’s papaya industry after it was decimated by the ringspot virus.

Chief among these activities may be his association with 4-H. A member in his youth, Roy has volunteered for the organization for some 45 years, first as a leader of the Kaua‘i 4-H Livestock Club and later serving on the Livestock Committee and 4-H Foundation. Even now he is often called on to help screen hogs or steers for a 4-H show.

He’s a big believer in getting kids involved in agriculture at an early age, one of his priorities when he became a 4-H volunteer leader. He brought up his own children in 4-H, crediting it for giving them discipline and important life lessons. As he explained, “Without the 4-H program, [our family] wouldn’t be his strong.” What he’s not saying is that without Roy, 4-H wouldn’t be so strong, either.