HONOLULU, HAWAII — Hawaii’s seed crop industry continues to grow at a strong pace and has increased in value to a new record high of just over $247 million, according to a recent report released by the Hawaii Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

In its Sept. 7 “Hawaii Seed Crops” report, the NASS estimates the value of the seed industry for the 2010/2011 season at $247.2 million, an increase of 5 percent over the 2009/2010 season, which was valued at $236.4 million.  (NASS has originally estimated the value of the seed industry for the 2009/2010 season at $222.6 million and later revised the estimate to $236.4 million.) The seed industry has grown steadily since 2001 when NASS began tracking its value.

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

“Hawaii’s seed crop industry continues to grow even in this tough economy,” noted Fred Perlak, president of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.  “As the No. 1 agricultural commodity in the state, the seed industry continues to be a stable source for tax revenues, employee salaries, jobs and community support.”

Seed crops are grown year-round in Hawaii, with the main growing season running from November to June.   Hawaii seed companies have operations on four islands – Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Maui – and employ more than 1,800 residents.  The seed crop industry generates more than 22 percent of all the agricultural jobs in the state.

According to the NASS report, outshipments of seed are projected to total 9.8 million pounds during the 2010/2011 season, a decrease of 19 percent from the previous season.

Meanwhile, the acreage harvested for all seed crops is expected to total 7,100 acres, an increase of 9 percent from the 2009/2010 season.

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

The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association is a membership organization that supports the growth and development of the seed industry, agriculture and agricultural sciences in Hawaii.

The NASS Hawaii Seed Crops report can be found at here

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