Farmers take part in first-ever Hawaii Seminis field day

Monsanto Hawaii welcomed vegetable growers from the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation Ag Park in Kunia to its first-ever Seminis field day at Monsanto Hawaii’s brand new veggie plots in Kunia.

While Monsanto is known in Hawaii for its corn seed, few might be aware that Monsanto also sells vegetable seed worldwide. Our Vegetable Seeds Division focuses on innovation to improve both the quality and productivity of vegetables grown from our seeds, and is represented through two seed brands: Seminis® (open-field and unheated protected culture) and De RuiterTM (heated, protected-culture and rootstock).

Our company invests in research and development to deliver the best products to consumers, and to provide yield potential and value to our customers – the growers – and to their customers in turn. Ultimately, by developing products with excellent flavor and real nutritional benefits, we hope people will enjoy eating more vegetables.

“The field day gives the Ag Park farmers a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the vegetables they may choose to grow,” explained Dr. John Purcell, Hawaii business and technology lead at Monsanto Hawaii.  “It gives them a chance to see first-hand how the different varieties of vegetables perform.”

Purcell previously led the Global Technology Development organization for Monsanto Vegetables. That group supported vegetable farmers around the world and Purcell is excited to share that expertise with farmers in Hawaii.

The veggie plot has six crops featuring a number of varieties currently being grown by farmers in Hawai`i.

Other Monsanto experts in vegetable production and pest management also participated in the training event.  One was Jeff Sais, a colleague from the Vegetables division who works out of Santa Maria, California, a major vegetable production area. Sais has spent his entire life around veggies and he came to Hawai`i to share his vast experience with farmers here.  “I always enjoy coming to Hawaii and speaking with the growers here. It is exciting to be a part of Hawaii’s efforts to produce more vegetables locally,” said Sais, who has worked with Hawai`i farmers for over a dozen years.

The Ag Park, a collaborative effort between Monsanto Hawaii, Island Palm Communities and the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, is designed to benefit small local farms. “The field day was a wonderful opportunity for our Ag Park growers to learn about different vegetable varieties, how to improve their soil, and ways they can employ low-tech pest-management methods,” said Melissa Zeman, Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, Ag Park Manager. “These techniques will help them improve their marketable produce options and manage pests more efficiently. These are critical needs in the small producer community and I'm grateful to Monsanto for helping address them. I’m looking forward to more workshop opportunities.”

You can see the veggie plot for yourself by signing up for a tour; click here for more information.

Monsanto Hawaii plans to offer other grower workshops in the future.