Our Commitment to Conservation
Monsanto Hawaii understands the importance of preserving and protecting our island home and we are dedicated to being a good steward of our land and natural resources. In addition to donating volunteer hours and grants to support various conservation programs in Hawaii, we are also committed to the following conservation practices:
- We utilize a drip irrigation method to produce crops. This method delivers water directly to the plant root zone and reduces the amount of fertilizer needed to produce the crop. We’ve found that this method saves more than eleven million gallons of water per year and uses 60 percent less nitrogen.
- We consult with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service about our soil and water conservation efforts and all our farms have approved conservation plans in place to preserve water and soil.
- Our Piilani farm on Maui uses only recycled R1 water from the municipal waste system for all irrigation and non-potable water needs. R1 water is defined as “tertiary treated recycled water that can be used without restriction.” R1 water is a more eco-friendly alternative to using thousands of gallons of fresh water daily.
- We have practices in place to ensure that the soil we farm remains healthy and productive. Some of the things we do to help prevent soil loss include cross slope grass plantings, diversion terraces, cover crops, grass barrier strips, windbreaks, spraying water on dirt roads, laying gravel on high traffic roads and halting all tillage activities under excessive wind conditions.
- We are working to incorporate strip tilling, a soil management practice that reduces the number of passes a tractor needs to make across a field in order to prepare an area for planting.
- In an effort to protect honey bees and other pollinators, Monsanto’s pesticide applicators have been trained to observe and help protect bee populations at all of our farms in Hawaii, and take into consideration the behavior and habitats of bee populations in our daily operations.
In addition to donating volunteer hours and at least $130,000 in grants to conservation programs in Hawaii, a team of Monsanto Hawaii employees performed a series of studies in collaboration with the company’s Molokai and Kunia farms to better understand the movement of irrigation water in the soil and its uptake by the crop. By making key changes to their irrigation and fertigation practices, the team was able to achieve a savings of approximately 50 million gallons per year, an overall reduction in water usage of about 25%. Monsanto’s employees received the company’s prestigious Sustainable Yield Pledge Award for their outstanding work, and their findings were immediately shared with other Monsanto sites to help enhance conservation efforts at our operations globally.