Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chamorro Land Trust, UOG team up: Agreement addresses compliance of agricultural leases

By Bryan C. Sualog • Pacific Daily News • December 3, 2008

Those with Chamorro Land Trust agricultural leases can expect visits to ensure they're in compliance with the leases, but also some help with farming.

The University of Guam, Chamorro Land Trust Commission and the Department of Agriculture signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday to address compliance and educational outreach for Chamorro Land Trust agricultural leases.

"For a number of years, since the implementation of the Chamorro Land Trust, we've had the issue of compliance on the requirements of the Chamorro Land Trust," said Joanne M. Brown, assistant director for UOG's Soil and Water Conservation program.

She said there had been issues with the ability of the Chamorro Land Trust to provide educational outreach on conservation farming, but the memorandum will offer a solution to those issues.

The agreement puts in place a cooperative compliance team that will provide educational and support programs, conduct assessments for Chamorro Land Trust farmers, evaluate the status of land leases, and provide policy and procedure recommendations to improve the commission's lease program, according to a news release.

The initial term for the memorandum will be one year, with an option to renew.

Oscar Calvo, chairman of the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, said the memorandum will help to educate farmers. He said the memorandum was an opportunity for people that want to farm, but don't really know how, to learn from experts.

"We don't have the expertise," he said. "Who else would be better than the people from the Department of Agriculture and the university to teach these courses?"


Calvo said if people on Land Trust agricultural lots aren't in compliance with their leases, they will be given a chance to correct deficiencies.

"If they do not do something about it, then that's another avenue we'll have to look at on the legal side, whether we can terminate (the leases)," he said.

UOG President Robert Underwood said the memorandum provides further evidence that the university's reach is far and wide on this island.

"A large part of our activity, I would say probably over 50 percent of our activities are involved in a whole lot of other things, including these types of service activities, development of relationships with government agencies, and private and public entities, as well as a robust research agenda," he said.

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