How does Monsanto Hawaii ensure the safe use of pesticides at their farms?

Each week, we will answer a question from our readers regarding our operations and community outreach in the State of Hawaii. Submit your question by visiting the contact page. Thanks for reading. Mahalo! 

Q: How does Monsanto Hawaii ensure the safe use of pesticides at their farms?

Monsanto Hawaii is proud of the work we do in Hawaii and we are committed to dialogue and transparency.  We are listening to your concerns and, as promised, would like to address some of your questions regarding pesticide use.

All farmers, including Monsanto, need to protect their plants from insects, weeds, diseases and/or other environmental stressors in order to successfully grow their crops. Many growers use a combination of approaches including cultural practices, cross breeding, choosing plants resistant to certain pests, creating an environment favorable to the natural enemies of pests, and using chemical pesticides. Monsanto uses an integrated pest management system that includes a combination of many of these approaches, and we often use pesticides as a last resort for pest control.

When we use pesticides, we diligently comply with federal and state laws that govern responsible pesticide use. All of our employees who work with pesticides receive training every year regarding proper pesticide applications. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture, which regulates the manufacture, sale and use of pesticides in Hawaii, is able to review our pesticide application records and inventories at any time.

All of our nursery plots are small and managed by a dedicated staff of experts, who can afford to provide great attention and care to our crops.  This enables us to use minimum levels of inputs (water, fertilizer, pesticides) to produce our seed crops, and ensures that all pesticides are used at the right time at the right rate across our entire nursery.

In addition, Monsanto Hawaii has voluntarily agreed to report details on our pesticide use and our stewardship measures related to pesticide technologies, fugitive dust and soil erosion on Maui. The Memorandum of Understanding was formally signed in November 2013 with the Mayor of the County of Maui, Alan Arakawa, and represents our commitment to being a good neighbor and managing our business responsibly.

We hope that we have answered some of your questions. That said, we realize that this is an important topic for many. So as we continue to listen and better understand your questions, we commit to sharing more on this topic in the coming weeks in the hopes that you’ll find it educational, informative and interesting. Please stay tuned.