‘New era in agriculture’

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The crowd is reflected in the sunglasses of Judith Rivera the Corteva Agriscience Hawaii research lead, Friday as she addresses the audience at the dedication and blessing of the renovated lab building in Kekaha.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Jerico Aceret, a graduate of Waimea High School and a research assistant at Corteva Agriscience shows a 6-day old crop of germinating corn.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Mark Stoutemyer, the Hawaii Leadership Team lead, helps Mark Takemoto, the facilities manager, and Judith Rivera, the Hawaii Research lead, open the maile to the doors of the newly $3 million renovated lab building in Kekaha.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Sandi Kato-Klutke and Darryl Kua of the Westside Christian Center get explanations of the germinating corn from Jerico Aceret and Dr. Pierridon Perez, Friday in the new lab building in Kekaha.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A visiting team touring the new lab building is garbed in sterile gear while watching Corteva Agriscience workers rescue corn embryos, Friday during the blessing and dedication of the new lab building in Kekaha.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Jacqueline Rank of Corteva Agriscience shows employees the rescue process in the new lab that was dedicated Friday afternoon in Kekaha.

KEKAHA — Agriculture is more than digging a hole in the ground and planting something, said Judith Rivera, Corteva Agriscience Hawaii research lead Friday at the dedication and blessing of a new lab building in Kekaha.

“This is a new era in agriculture,” Rivera said. “I’m happy to have found continuing use for agriculture on lands that used to grow sugar cane. This is high technology, but it trickles down to agriculture. This is using the ground to help put food on the table.”

Corteva Agriscience, agriculture division of DowDuPont, celebrated the near-completion of the updated lab building in the shadow of greenhouses rising on the Kekaha plain. The $3 million building renovations of the former seed operation will accommodate the growing research needs of the company.

“We’re excited to unveil a new lab building that will expand the research capabilities of Corteva in Hawaii,” Rivera said. “It’s the first step in an ongoing project that will increase our capacity to conduct research operations indoors, which will, in turn, provide environmental benefits while reducing the need for additional lands.”

The renovated building will include office spaces and a lab to support the activity in the shade houses, the first phase of which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The lab will also create 20 to 30 jobs.

“You folks are walking the talk,” said Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo. “Politicians talk, but you folks are the ones doing the work and walking the talk. This is another opportunity for our kids to stay at home with good jobs.”

Ryan Oyama, Global Population Development, Hawaii lead, anticipates the first houses to be completed by the end of this year. Additional structures are expected to be built over the next several years.

Corteva Agriscience broke ground on the shade house project in February after receiving approval from the state Department of Agriculture. The structures will increase capacity and incorporate new, more efficient technologies.

The additional $12 million worth of expansions and improvements for the shade house project will benefit the local economy and enhance the Corteva Agriscience research network in Waimea and Kekaha.

Four new shade structures are expected to be completed by the end of the year, with additional structures expected to be built over the next few years.

The project’s general contractor was Shioi Construction.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Lawaibob November 10, 2018 3:11 am Reply

    Call it what it is. Pesticide research.

  2. Charlie Chimknee November 10, 2018 7:55 am Reply

    This news article by a staff phtograher, wish there was at least one photo of the shade buildings.

    For 100,000 years at least, God didn’t need a science lab to feed the humans, so why now? Say, same ‘ol trusty Dow DuPont Chemical isn’t gonna bring us more GMO FOOD, are they, and more cancer causing petrochemicals like Glyphosate and already banned Chlorpyrifos.

    You know more simple sounding petrochemicals that take years of study before they need to be banned to protect the unborn, the keiki and the parents and Tutu.

    Some of us are already shivering reading and another drug “sounding” name like CORTEVA, wherein the side effects of other same sounding (drug) words are enough to choke a herd of horses.

    Is another 25 jobs worth violating the Laws of God and Mother Nature as Chlorpyrifos did?

    Who would you place your TRUST in? God and Mother Nature with a reliable Eternity of a track record feeding the creatures and humans of our planet or some recent in time “pop-up” for profit modern unreliable science company following in the slippers of Monsanto and their banned cancer causing chemicals. I’ll take the Lord any day or night…! ! ! Let’s buy these chemical companies a ticket out, Mars is waiting for them, er, uh, maybe that’s not far enough.

    In a word, Dennis, your article was rather VAGUE, but we love your photos, and we missed the 1 or 2 of your photos that could have brightened this article with.



    1. Pete Antonson November 12, 2018 2:33 pm Reply

      Glyphosate and Chlorpyrifos are not petrochemicals……….not even close!

  3. Charlie Chimknee November 10, 2018 8:21 am Reply

    Aloha Dennis Fujimoto, Please accept my apologies for my incorrectly stating that there were no photos in your article. The many photos were very thorough as to the article.

    For some reason my computer did not show them at first.

    But after seeing the pictures I must say that in the millions of years corn has not only been on earth, but in the last 100,000 years (my guess), Mother Nature never needed no $3 Million dollar science lab to feed the zillions of people over time with the original natural nutritional God given ingredients that sustained life in many cultures of humans on earth.

    So why now? Is this another “take food from God” and put a man made Patent on it? For PROFIT PURPOSES…?

    Would you mind elaborating on it. It seems those young science minds of the youth in the pictures could be doing something more worth while than messing with God’s food chain.

    Maybe they should spend their time eliminating the pollution that is killing our planet…remember it is out planet, not their corporate planet.

    It’s maybe hard for Kaua’i people to appreciate how badly polluted our Earth has become in just the last 100 years, but if you were able to visit so many places in the world where an air filter mask is necessary to breathe on the streets; or the chemical stench filled waterways where children bathe and get water from…this more need of chemicals laboratory may not be what we seek.

    Mahalo for the pics,


  4. Jose Bulatao November 10, 2018 9:28 am Reply

    However advanced we may become with new technologies and approaches to agricultural endeavors, it is important to maintain the realities of protecting and preserving the finite resources that come with an island-environment! The land, air and water quality should not be abused and/or depleted unconscionably.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.