Seed crop values reach record high, again

HONOLULU — The value of Hawai‘i’s seed industry is at a new record high of $247 million for the 2010-2011 season, a 5 percent increase over last year’s record high, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Statistics Service report estimates.

“Hawai‘i’s seed crop industry continues to grow even in this tough economy,” Fred Perlak, president of the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association, said in a press release. “As the number one agricultural commodity in the state, the seed industry continues to be a stable source for tax revenues, employee salaries, jobs and community support.

Of the seed crops grown in Hawai‘i, NASS reports that seed corn is expected to account for $236.4 million or 96 percent of the total value of the industry, with other seed crops such as soybeans, sunflowers, wheat and rice account for the remaining 4 percent.

Seed crops are grown year-round in Hawai‘i because of its temperate climate.

Seed companies have operations on four islands — O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Molokai and Maui — and have more than 1,800 employees, representing more than 22 percent of total agricultural jobs across the state, states HICIA.

The NASS report indicates outshipments of seed are projected to total 9.8 million pounds during this year, which is a decrease of 19 percent from the previous season.

Harvested acres are expected to total 7,100, an increase of 9 percent over last year.

“The contributions of Hawaii’s seed crop industry are significant,” stated Perlak. “By supplying seeds to the world, Hawai‘i farmers and scientists are helping to build the economic future of our state while contributing to the growing global demand for food.”

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