Monday, August 8, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, May 4, 2013
Farmer: Anti-GMO Activists Burn Two Tractors on Maui
By Selected News Articles @ 9:02 PM :: 4361 Views :: GMOs

The Hawaiian Farm Conversation

From HCIA, April 18, 2013

Today’s post is brought to your by our good friend and Farm Mom, Katie Pratt, from Dixon, Ill.

By Katie Pratt, Farmer, Dixon, Ill.

By Katie Pratt, Farmer, Dixon, Ill.

In March, My Farmer and I joined four other farming couples in Hawaii to talk to government and media about biotechnology and why it is an important tool on our farms.

Our ticket to the land of sun and sand was writing an essay that described the reasons we chose to use biotech, and how it benefits our farms, our families, our communities and our environments. Each farmer had a very different story to tell. You can read all the essays here.

The “contest” was sponsored by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, a non-profit trade organization representing the Hawaiian seed industry.  Its member companies include Monsanto, Dow AgroScience, Syngenta, Pioneer and BASF.

So, why talk biotech in Hawaii? Because the majority of the genetics found in our seeds today originate on the islands. Here companies spend money, time and resources researching and developing new hybrids and biotechnologies for use on farms around the world.

The island environment is perfect for this type of work. Researchers can pull three trials off their plots annually. The warm, moist climate offers the challenge of constant insect, weed and disease pressures, allowing scientists to fully test their ideas against all Mother Nature has to offer.

Biotechnology is no stranger to the islands. In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus decimated Hawaiian papaya farms. Thankfully, Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, a plant pathologist working at Cornell, but with strong ties to the islands, developed a transgenic papaya resistant to the virus. In 1998 the variety was available to farmers and today the papaya industry thrives.

In spite of that success story and the overwhelming economic, social and environmental benefits of the islands’ seed industry, the anti-biotech movement in Hawaii is fierce, loud and extreme, organizing rallies and marches instead of sharing a table and a civil discussion with seed industry supporters.

During our visit, activists burned two tractors on a Maui sugarcane farm and waved signs and accusations during our events in the state capital. In speaking with employees of the HCIA member companies we learned many receive threats against their families and properties, and one individual told us she had purchased a gun for protection at her home.

The arguments against the seed industry are steeped in the history of the Hawaiian Islands, but also in the anti-Monsanto, anti-GMO rhetoric that grips so much of the food conversation today.  And in Hawaii, the anti-movement is gaining ground. In 2008, activists successfully achieved a ban on research in coffee and taro, two other important Hawaiian agriculture products.  Last month, the state legislature brought a complex, confusing GMO-labeling bill to the floor.  Although it was not passed, the state is now entering a few years of impact research before making a decision.

Sometimes it is hard to connect our farms with forces beyond our front porch. Whether we farm in Illinois, North Dakota, Washington, Arizona or Georgia, we all are and will be affected by the Hawaiian farm conversation.

I, for one, am pleased that the seeds found in our fields have been researched in these United States by successful companies that choose to operate in this country, pay taxes, and employ fellow Americans in an otherwise not so friendly, sometimes downright dangerous business climate. They could go elsewhere giving the jobs, the money and the innovations to another country. But they stay giving me one more chance to buy American-made.

Want to know more? Check out my three-part series about our Hawaii trip.

---30---

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT