The Hawaiian island of Kaua'i continues to be a real challenge for the ag industry as anti-biotechnology and anti-pesticide organizations have chosen to make this paradise a battleground.
At the center of the issue is a proposed Kaua'i County Ordinance (2491). If passed as written, the ordinance would severely impact the ability of the seed research and production facilities on the island to operate.
The major elements of the ordinance would impose huge no-spray buffers, require use reporting on restricted use pesticides and put a moratorium on certain planting of biotech crops.
CropLife America and member companies operating on the island including, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont/Pioneer and Syngenta have expended a tremendous amount of time over the summer in trying to address real concerns and develop a strategy to oppose this ordinance in this very politically and emotionally charged environment.
This past week a hearing was held by a committee made up of members of the Kaua'i county council, where the seed company representatives were given the "opportunity" to testify and outline some of the positive practices they employ in their operations.
However, the council members who support the ordinance took them to task by asking impossible, leading questions that were designed to only place our industry in a bad light.
The 12-hour hearing also covered possible amendments to the current bill and other avenues that could be considered that would provide the seed research and production farms certain freedoms to operate.
We continue to work with our member company people and allies on the ground in Hawaii in seeking viable solutions to this very unique and difficult issue.
The next hearing is scheduled for September 27th.