HONOLULU – The Pesticides Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has completed voluntary pesticide-use guidelines and established the “Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program” to provide more information and education on pesticide use on the island.
The voluntary pesticide-use guideline will go into effect on Dec. 1. It will apply to the five agricultural companies mentioned in Kauai County Bill 2491 — Dow AgroSciences, Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, and Kauai Coffee Company — and assures that adequate buffer zones are in place when restricted-use pesticides are applied.
The voluntary guidelines are in addition to federal guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The department used existing federal worker protection standards and increased buffer zones to provide extra protection for residents in areas surrounding these farming operations,” said HDOA Deputy Scott Enright. “We will also be requesting that the Legislature establish 10 additional inspector and pesticide education positions statewide in this upcoming legislative session.”
Under the Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program, neighbors who are located nearest to the farm operations will be the primary focus of continuing outreach efforts to provide information on pesticide use and to discuss any concerns.
Under the Voluntary RUP Notice section of the program, the guidelines will register schools, hospitals and medical clinics that are within 1,000 feet of the farming operations so they may receive a weekly schedule of any planned RUP application near their property. Registered entities will also be notified at least 24 hours in advance should there be any change in the weekly RUP application schedule.
The guidelines also require a 100-foot buffer zone between application areas and schools, medical facilities and residential properties, unless the EPA regulations are stricter. By law, all requirements found on the pesticide label must be followed.
The companies are also required to file a monthly report on RUP use with HDOA’s Pesticides Branch.
The program will be assessed after one year.