Global seed company DuPont Pioneer has shut down its facility in Kekaha, Kauai and plans to consolidate its parent seed operations with another facility in Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu.

Laurie Yoshida, spokeswoman for the company, said that DuPont Pioneer has laid off 23 employees and plans to lay off 11 more once the closure is complete. That will take time because equipment needs to be transferred and the 3,000 acres of leased land needs to be prepared to return to landowners. The employees will be offered severance packages, she said.

The news comes just 10 days after a federal court jury ruled DuPont Pioneer owes over half a million dollars to 15 residents in Waimea, Kauai, for property damage and other costs associated with red dust generated from the company’s fields.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. for Anita's story.  13 jan 2015. photograph Cory lum/Civil Beat

Agricultural operations by Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. on the North Shore of Oahu

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Yoshida said Wednesday’s closure is unrelated to the lawsuit and that DuPont Pioneer’s 1,500-acre Waimea operation in west Kauai will be unaffected.

She said the consolidation is due to the softening of the market and the desire to streamline operations. Both the Kekaha and Waialua facilities focused on parent seed operations, growing the initial seeds used to create hybrids.

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