News From Our Farms
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Celebrating 50 Years of Pioneer in Hawaii
Since its founding, Pioneer has played a significant role in advancing agriculture and continues to provide high-quality seeds to farmers worldwide with the islands playing an important role over the years. The year 2018 marks 50 years of Pioneer in Hawaii, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this milestone.
DuPont Pioneer began researching conventional hybrid corn seed varieties in Kekaha, Kauai in 1968 on land formerly used for growing sugar. Pioneer expanded to Oahu just over three decades later, opening its current Waialua Parent Seed farm in 1999 and the Kunia Research Center in 2005. The Waimea Research Station was built in 2000.
Today, Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, uses modern biotechnology to develop and grow both conventional and genetically engineered corn seeds and soybeans in Hawaii to fulfill its mission to help farmers across the globe address the many challenges they face.
Congratulations, Alika Napier!
WAIALUA, O‘AHU — Corteva AgriscienceTM, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, is pleased to announce that Alika Napier has been promoted to production location manager at the company’s Waialua farm.
The Corteva AgriscienceTM Waialua farm consists of 2,300 acres and grows seed corn, sunflowers and diversified vegetable crops in collaboration with local farmers. Napier began his career in Waialua almost 19 years ago as an integrated pest management specialist for DuPont Pioneer. He then served as a field production supervisor, and most recently as the field operations manager.
“We are proud to have Alika as the production location manager. He has the expertise and experience this demanding job requires. He has also supported the local community, farmers and the schools in the area,” said Laurie Yoshida, communications manager for Corteva AgriscienceTM. “He is committed to helping local agriculture by working with today's farmers and helping develop the next generation as well.”
Prior to starting at DuPont Pioneer in 1999, Napier managed an 1,100-acre operation that provided forage to the local dairies on Oahu. He also co-chairs the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association Agronomy Committee.
Napier is married to Mi Jung and together they have two children, Brooke and Alex. Brooke is a freshman at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Alex is a sophomore in high school. When he’s not at work, Napier enjoys paddling and other ocean sports with the family.
Hawaii Crop Improvement Association Honors Waialua Parent Seed team for Sunflower Tours
Since 2007, DuPont Pioneer Waialua Parent Seed has been growing sunflower seeds once a year in the fall for their Woodland, Calif. operations. As fields of sunflowers are a rare sight in Hawaii, the public quickly became interested and a kind of “cult” following began through social media, which lead to a great deal of trespassing through the fields in search of the illusive blooms. Although public opinion of the agriculture industry has not always been favorable, people began overlooking this in their rush to see the sunflower fields. In 2013, in an effort to alleviate trespassing and provide education about the sunflowers and DuPont Pioneer’s operations in Hawaii, we opened for public outreach tours.
The primary goal was to provide information to the public about why DuPont Pioneer grows the sunflowers and the importance of their operations here in Hawaii. They held informational training sessions for our employees who were then able to act as guides, engaging the public in conversation about the site.
The secondary goal was to utilize the popularity of the sunflowers to support the Waialua community through fundraising opportunities. They partnered with the local youth sports teams, Waialua Elementary and Waialua High School who volunteered during events and collected donations for parking, t-shirts and refreshments.
Since 2013, the average attendance per year was 4,000 people with $5,000 to $7,000 in donations collected that went directly to the community non-profit groups.
This past year, 2017, in an effort to reach out to an expanded audience, DuPont Pioneer held tours every day from Nov. 8 through Nov. 20. Tours were promoted on local news channels, newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media and on the local Pioneer website. They also produced a short informational video about farm operations that visitors viewed before entering the fields. More than 21,000 people attended and more than $52,000 in donations were collected that went directly to local youth sports teams, Waialua Elementary and Waialua High School.
Through their hard work, with many hours engaging with community groups and the public, going above and beyond what was expected of them, the DuPont Pioneer team has transformed the sunflowers into good will ambassadors that allow them to speak to a wider audience about the business and help the community raise much needed funds for youth programs.
Honoring Richard McCormack & Jay Shintaku
More than 19 years ago, Richard McCormack was there for the historic ground breaking of Pioneer’s Waialua Parent Seed location on the North Shore of Oahu. As the new location manager he was responsible for building the success of the Waialua site from the ground up, which included hiring a team of highly talented people to ensure that would happen. Knowing what a special manager McCormack was from their days working at Dole Plantation together, Jay Shintaku took a leap of faith and joined the initial team of Pioneer Waialua employees as the plant operations manager.
Through the years, McCormack and Shintaku led Waialua Parent Seed into becoming an integral part of the DuPont Pioneer supply chain, making sure that internal customers received excellent quality and service above and beyond what might be expected.
This April, although sad to see them go, the DuPont Pioneer family extended their best wishes for greatness in retirement to Jay and Richard, celebrating their 19 years of dedication and commitment to agriculture, our employees and the community.
Thank you Jay and Richard for giving Waialua Parent Seed the best kind of foundation to move into the future!
AG IN ACTION
Relay for Life Hanapepe: April 28-29
HANAPEPE, KAUA‘I — The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association awarded Corteva Agriscience the Community Hero award for its work on the Relay For Life team. It’s the highest honor given by HCIA in recognition of outstanding volunteer service. It honors those who have met a need and positively affected the community. For the past 16 years, DuPont Pioneer has participated in Relay For Life and has raised more than $165,000 for Kauai.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. It is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in thousands of communities and 27 countries.
Some money was donated through company sponsorship, but more than 75 percent of the monies raised came from the team’s fundraising efforts. DuPont Pioneer has also had employees who participated on the event leadership team serving as the event lead, survivorship chair and event sponsorship chairs to name a few.
This year each Relay for Life team picked a sports team as their booth theme. The Pioneer team, also known as Team Purple Palooza, chose the New England Patriots and sold New England Clam Chowder in a bowl or bread bowl.
The Pioneer team raised more than $12,000 this year, with more coming in. These events bring communities together to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society make a global impact on cancer.
RIGHT PHOTO: Sarah Styan, center, received the award on behalf of the Relay For Life team from the Waimea Research Center. Presenting the award were Senator Glenn Wakai, left, and Representative Richard Onishi.