The future of Hawaii agriculture hangs in the balance this legislative session.

Having lost in the courts the battle over whether county governments even have the jurisdiction to regulate genetically modified crops, anti-science advocates have moved to state government, hoping there to revive the “genetic modification (sic)” Salem Witch Trials. These people oppose genetics, the science.

Now, with the sugar industry gone and Hawaii’s largest agricultural activity, the corn seed industry, shrinking from the recent global commodity price collapse, anti-science advocates seek its annihilation and that of all modern agriculture.

Since they can’t deny that transgenic modification yielded their diabetes medicine, a vaccine for Ebola, revival of Hawaii’s papaya industry, a 90 percent reduction in U.S. corn insecticide use since the 1990s, and not a single instance of adverse human health or environmental harm documented in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature, ever, they have to just wing it. They need a new object for their obsession: pesticides.

This year’s legislation to regulate already regulated pesticides originates in the findings of a Joint Fact Finding report by a group on Kauai from which all of the scientists resigned. The JFF report hysterically rehashed old rumors to insinuate, without evidence, imaginary health problems irresponsibly attributed to Kauai farming companies, winning the Pulitzer Prize for bogacity in 2016.

The JFF ignored a Hawaii Tumor Registry report prepared for the Hawaii Department of Health concluding that “there is no evidence of higher incidence of cancer on the island of Kauai overall or for specific geographic regions of the island, as compared to the state of Hawaii.”

Read the science. Even the JFF confirmed absence of evidence of any causal link between restricted use pesticides and human health. Fear-mongering is not science.

Pesticide-related bills now before the Legislature unfairly target only certain farmers, specifically corn seed companies, and ignore the other three-quarters of all users of agricultural chemicals. Worse, they ignore commercial and residential uses. This is anti-seed industry legislation, not pesticide legislation.

The amount of Hawaii acreage in cultivated cropland decreased from about 260,000 acres in 1982 to about 50,000 acres in 2012. Following the closure of HC&S, less than 20,000 acres of cropland will be cultivated statewide in the 2017 agricultural census. The Hawaii seed industry’s economic impact peaked between 2010 and 2012, when its value topped $240 million. Since then, the decline in global commodity prices in general has reduced that value to $150 million in 2016.

Still, the seed industry is the state’s leading agricultural activity and agricultural export. It is a knowledge‑intensive industry. It differs from conventional agriculture because it is a research and development activity as well as a production activity. Higher skills and knowledge demanded of the seed industry’s science-based jobs enable it to generate more economic value-added.

Hawaii’s seed industry has contributed to creation of crops that resist diseases and insects, tolerate drought and conserve water, raising yields and reducing renewable resource requirements. No agricultural activity in Hawaii has so profoundly improved human welfare worldwide, through contributions to productivity growth, as Hawaii’s corn seed industry.

The State of Hawaii would be foolish to deny local farmers the ability to raise crops without adequate protection against harmful insects and diseases that thrive in the tropics without winter-kill. Responsible and safe use of agricultural chemicals is strictly regulated and is carefully monitored through stringent federal and state laws already in place.

The Legislature should not strangle what remains of Hawaii agriculture with redundant and pointless regulation that hurts farmers and their families’ livelihoods, with zero social benefit, in the absence of any evidence of harm from the industry.

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