Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry: Current and Potential Economic and Fiscal Contributions

Here is the PDF file for the Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry: Current and Potential Economic and Fiscal Contributions report.
Please visit the website for more information: http://www.nass.usda.gov/hi/

Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry
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Contact Information:
Mark E. Hudson, Director
USDA NASS Hawaii Field Office
1421 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814-2512

Office: (808) 973-9588 / (800) 804-9514
Fax: (808) 973-2909

The research objective of this study is to update our 2006 study of the Hawaii seed crop industry’s economic and fiscal contributions to the State of Hawaii. To this end we have provided:
• Background information about the technology used by the industry locally and internationally,
• Details of Hawaii’s seed crop industry with comparisons to other Hawaii sectors and subsectors,
• The economic contributions of the seed crop industry.

Our primary research conclusion is that Hawaii’s seed crop industry makes significant ever increasing economic and fiscal contributions to the state’s economy generally, and most particularly simultaneous contributions to the agriculture, life sciences and high technology subsectors. In so doing, the Hawaii seed crop industry generates various positive externalities to the state, the value of which has not been assessed in this study. Seed crop industry economic contributions to the state should continue to increase given anticipated industry investments in Hawaii, which will assist achievement not only of economic policy objectives but other objectives as well, the various positive side effects of this industry operating in Hawaii.

Background Information
The origin of the Hawaii seed crop industry can be traced approximately 50 years ago to the 1960s when several seed crop companies first located themselves in the State of Hawaii. Hawaii offered and continues to offer a unique factor set, including:
• Year-round growing conditions allowing up to four crop cycles per year • Availability of a highly skilled agricultural workforce
• Availability of land and water
• A stable political and economic environment.

This factor combination gives Hawaii a competitive advantage over other U.S. mainland and international locations for the seed crop industry. This competitive advantage has resulted in the location of 45 companies which comprise the industry, some of which are international leaders in the advancements of agricultural science. Seed crop farmers are located on Hawaii, Maui, Kauai and Molokai. These farmers use both conventional as well as biotech plant breeding methods to grow seed crops. The primary seed crop grown in Hawaii is corn, all of which is exported to both North and South America for further development and ultimate worldwide distribution. In the complex system of worldwide food production, the stop in Hawaii adds value to the seed product in the form of improved and increased crop production.

The seed crop industry uses conventional plant breeding techniques to a significant extent. Because of limitations of this method the industry also uses genetic engineering technology. This technology allows greater flexibility with respect to the transferability of specific traits to plants with the simultaneous exclusion of undesirable traits. Becauseof their preciseness, genetic engineering plant breeding practices can be regarded as a significant technological advancement over conventional plant breeding practices. Traits most commonly engineered into plant varieties in Hawaii include increased insect and disease resistance, resistance to common agricultural herbicides and increased yields.

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