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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Pioneer cuts Kaua'i seed production

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

KEKAHA, Kaua'i — Pioneer Hi-Bred has cut its Kaua'i parent seed production effort by almost two-thirds from its high two years ago.

The company has a surplus of seed, in part because of the efficiency of the operation, said Francisco Lynch, U.S. production manager for Pioneer, which is owned by DuPont.

The firm has two programs on Kaua'i. Its production effort, which produces the parent seed for hybrids, was farming 1,000 acres with 16 full-time and three part-time regular employees two years ago.

This year, that will be cut to about 300 acres and eight full-time employees, he said.

"With this team in place, we can still grow 600 acres or so with no problem," Lynch said, but added that the company does not expect to reach that level in the near future.

The second Pioneer program, its research facility, will have four positions eliminated, but they will be replaced by three higher-level spots.

"The Waimea research operation is critical to the company's ability to deliver new, high-performing crop genetics to customers, and thus requires employees with the expertise and skill to work with an array of technologies," the company said in a written statement.

The production operation works out of a plant outside Kekaha.

The research arm has a new station on the banks of the Waimea River.

There are no planned changes at Pioneer's two-year-old parent seed operation at Waialua, O'ahu. That facility has 12 full-time employees and is growing to 700 acres.

In part, that facility is being kept more active because of its state-of-the-art plant, Lynch said.