Part I: Getting to Know Your Neighbor
Foster says he is sensitive to the island’s water needs and that Monsanto has developed a water conservation program to be implemented in times of drought. He says that new and existing fields are being retrofitted with drip-irrigation, versus overhead systems which waste a significant amount of water. The overhead systems will continue to be used on freshly tilled fields to help regenerate them for new plantings.
Foster says that in comparison to the pineapple plantations of old, the corn operation will require far less water. He estimated that an acre of corn requires about 400,000 gallons of water to cultivate. Of their 1, 650 acres, Monsanto is looking to cultivate 400 acres this upcoming season.
Efforts to deal with erosion and dust control issues have already begun in many of the newly tilled fields. These include terracing, the planting of grass on cross-slopes, grassed waterways, and the tilling residual crops to hold soil in place. They have also begun planting panex windbreaks to replace wiliwili which has been devastated by an invasive wasp.
Afraid of GMOs? Have questions about Monsanto’s relationship with the Ranch? Wondering if Monsanto’s lands will be affected by the Land Use Plan? For answers to these questions and more, stay tuned for Part II of Monsanto Molokai.