News From Our Farms
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DowDuPont to invest $12M in Waimea Research Center
Expansions and investments, valued at nearly $12 million, are planned for the DuPont Pioneer Waimea Research Center. The agriculture division of DowDuPont, which was formed by the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont earlier this year, announced their new strategy on Dec. 13.
Specific improvements include building renovations to improve infrastructure and create additional work areas. New shade houses will allow for a large portion of research operations to be conducted indoors, providing environmental benefits and reducing the need for additional acreage.
These investments will increase capacity to conduct research and install new, more efficient technologies. The planned improvements will consolidate the company’s Hawai‘i research and development operations to Waimea and parent seed operations to Waialua. All other sites are closing at the end of the season. However, the lab in Kunia will remain open until mid-2019 until the renovations in Waimea are completed.
“At the end of the day, Hawaii will still be a strategic location for DowDuPont,” said Jose Luis Hernandez, the company’s global leader for seed development research.
DowDuPont will be adding jobs to Kaua‘i that are aligned with the agriculture division’s business strategy. The company is currently working to identify those individuals that will remain with the company and relocate.
Hawaii continues to play a critical role in DowDuPont’s product development strategy and the company has committed to maintaining a strong presence in the state.
ON THE FARM
Sunflower viewing tours boost Waialua community
WAIALUA, O‘AHU — Thanks to a turnout of more than 21,000 people over 12 days to view the sunflowers on DuPont Pioneer’s Waialua Farm, area nonprofit organizations raised more than $52,000 by facilitating parking and selling t-shirts, water and snacks. In recognition of the event and its popularity with photographers, GoPro donated six GoPro HERO6 cameras to the media program at Waialua High School.
The thousands of dollars raised this year will benefit Waialua Elementary, Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council, GoFarm Hawai‘i, Waialua Little League, Waialua High School softball team, and the Waialua Pop Warner Bullpups Football.
Members of the above organizations volunteered along with staff from the West Oahu Soil and Water Conservation District and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Gene-ius Day Program.
The tours at the DuPont Pioneer farm in Waialua took place between Wednesday, Nov. 8 and Monday, Nov. 20. By comparison, last year’s tours attracted 4,000 people and raised some $9,000 for community nonprofits, an indication of the event’s growing popularity. The sunflower fields have since been plowed to make way for a new planting of corn crops.
Kaua‘i Harvest Festival: Oct. 22, 2017
WAIMEA, KAUA‘I — More than 6,000 people from the Kaua‘i community came together for the Harvest Festival at Waimea Canyon Park on Sunday, Oct. 22. DuPont Pioneer grew almost 800 pumpkins on their farm, which DuPont Pioneer contributed as its share of the 4,000 pumpkins the agricultural industry gave away to the community.
Employees raised money all year long for Relay for Life and represented Team Purple Palooza. Pictured here are team members Denise Moriguchi, left, Hali‘a Moriguchi and Sarah Styan. The Harvest Festival featured water slides, bounce houses, rides, games, a petting zoo, food, entertainment, music, and lots of free pumpkins. It was a great way to celebrate and support local agriculture. Watch the recap video here.
CORE VALUE: Protecting Safety and Health
DuPont Pioneer shares a personal and professional commitment to protecting the safety and health of employees, contractors, customers and the people of the communities in which they operate. The foundation of DuPont Pioneer’s culture of safety is a commitment to achieving zero incidents and striving for world-class safety performance for all company decisions, big or small. Within this safety culture, every near-miss incident is remedied immediately. Every incident is preventable, but every employee is responsible for their safety and the safety of those around them.
The team at DuPont Pioneer in Waialua has reached 5,428 days — or more than 14 years — of “no lost work” days due to an on-the-job injury. They’ve also gone 1,009 days without a recordable incident, which is one where medical treatment is applied beyond normal first aid. A recordable incident does not always result in a “lost work day.” Waialua’s last recordable incident was a cut on an employee’s finger in which that employee requested two stitches instead of a Band-Aid. The employee was able to return to full duty on the same day. Prior to that, the Waialua farm was at 2,051 days — or five and a half years — without a recordable incident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. Every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.
EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Calvin Threat & Alton Shimatsu
WAIMEA, KAUA‘I — At DuPont Pioneer, Alton Shimatsu works as a research associate in soil conservation, but at his alma mater of Waimea High School, he has volunteered as the boys varsity volleyball coach for the past eight years. When he came back home from college, his old coach asked him to help out as an assistant and Alton eventually ended up taking responsibility for the program.
“After I started, I couldn’t leave,” Shimatsu said. “I see how the boys grow after you teach them and you take pride in that. I made bonds with some of the boys and they don’t want you to leave.”
For Shimatsu, it’s not just about whether or not the students excel in volleyball but about how they develop. Even though the team faces hardships throughout the season, they end the season with the satisfaction that they worked hard and competed, and he loves being a part of that.
Coaching has also influenced Shimatsu’s professional career at DuPont Pioneer. Working with the high school students has enabled him to broaden his horizons and taught him how to work effectively with others.
“It helped me get from the bottom to where I’m at now,” Shimatsu said. “Even though it’s time consuming, it’s been a big part of my life. Pretty much since I left high school I’ve been around the program.”
It’s a similar situation for Calvin Threat, research associate in the research seed production group. When he first moved to Waimea about six and a half years ago, he mentioned to a friend that he used to wrestle and has coaching experience. Threat was asked to help out and has since been the head coach for the boys and girls varsity wrestling team at Waimea High School.
“Each year is different and it gives me something to do to stay involved in the community and at the same time stay in decent shape,” Threat said.
Before moving to Kaua‘i, Threat was living in LA where he coached college rugby for a few years. While there he saw that wrestling is a foundational sport that can help out with many other sports.
“I’m not a master wrestler, but I know enough to use it as a discipline and help develop the kids,” Threat said. “It’s about knowing your weight class, knowing what you’re eating, managing your grades and your schedule. Wrestling is an individual sport so you have to develop a discipline for yourself.”
Although the coaching is time consuming, Threat enjoys being involved in the small-town community where you can meet people and develop relationships. It’s also helped Threat in his work at DuPont Pioneer, where at times he does have to coach people. For him, it helps to look at things from a different perspective so that he doesn’t get wrapped up in one activity but can still see the big picture.