Monsanto Manager Shares Some Facts
Molokai Chamber of Commerce board candidate, Ray Foster, gave chamber members a quick presentation about the business Monsanto does on Molokai. The Hotel Molokai luncheon also included a question and answer session.
Foster said Monsanto produces genetic modified corn on Molokai with the intent of commercializing its seeds. An environmental impact study hasn’t been done because it’s not required by the government on lands used for agricultural purpose, he said. “Here we only grow corn for commercial sale, to sell the seeds,” he said. “The research is done elsewhere.”
In 1999 Monsanto acquired 700 acres of corn fields from the Holden family and 200 acres from the State, Foster said. Earlier this year, Monsanto expanded its lease hold to 1,650 acres, but only 400 of them will be used as productive lands, he said.
The drip irrigation system that Monsanto plans to use will require only half of the water the overhead irrigation uses. Another major advantage of the drip irrigation system is that it allows fertilizer to be delivered straight to the plants’ roots, rather than spreading it through the air, he said.
Foster also pointed out that the acreage Monsanto acquired won’t need a geological survey because the land had been originally farmed by pineapple plantations for over a hundred years. “There are no known historic sites on the lands,” he said.
Foster said that there is a lot of misinformation and untrue statements about Monsanto. “I’m very proud of what we do,” he said. “Come and ask me, come and see me,” he urged to those who wish to know more about the work Monsanto does here on Molokai.
“Hawaii is America,” Foster said. There are good regulatory agencies here, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, which are “involved in what we do,” he said. Nobody in the world has the same quality of environmental regulations that the United States does, said Foster.
Monsanto currently employs 120 Molokai residents on a full-time basis and another 40 to 50 seasonal workers.