About HCIA

James L. Brewbaker

The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA) was founded on Molokai in 1971 by Dr. James Brewbaker as an offshoot of the Corn Research Program at the University of Hawaii College of Agriculture. Today, HCIA is a nonprofit trade association representing the agricultural seed industry in Hawaii.

HCIA member companies include Dow AgroScience, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Syngenta and BASF. All are proud members of Hawaii’s agricultural and life sciences industries, producing seed corn, soybean, sunflower and cotton.

Hawaii seed companies use plant breeding practices to produce both conventional and biotech parent seed lines. Most of the corn planted around the world—including biotech corn—spends at least some portion of its development time in Hawaii. These seed lines are used to produce commercial quantities of conventional and biotech seeds for new and improved crops.

HCIA member companies are located on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Molokai, and employ more than 1,800 employees annually. Seed companies grow and harvest on approximately 4,000 of the 8,000 acres of agricultural lands, of which seed corn makes up 92 to 97% of the industry’s value. HCIA growers use conventional as well as biotechnology plant breeding methods to grow their seed crops, which can also include soy, sunflower, wheat and cottonseed varieties.

img_5294Employees work directly with planting, growing and producing hundreds of thousands of individual varieties of seed crops such as corn, soybeans, sunflowers and cotton. Others collect notes in the fields on crop variety performance and analyze those results. Using state-of-the art laboratory technology, others test and characterize potentially new varieties of seed.

None of the seed crops grown in Hawaii are sold commercially. Hawaii’s seed industry is driven by worldwide demand for hybrid seed corn and ships 6.8 million pounds of seed corn annually to South and North America for expanded planting or creating hybrid seeds for sale in the next year.

HCIA member companies contribute to the economic diversity of the islands by providing living wage jobs in rural communities, keeping important agricultural lands in agricultural use, and serving as responsible stewards of Hawaii’s natural resources.

HCIA’s Mission:

HCIA is a membership organization that supports the growth and development of the seed industry, agriculture and agricultural sciences in Hawaii through advocacy, outreach education and science-based information.

HCIA’s Vision:

Growing the future of worldwide agriculture in Hawaii.