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State to launch voluntary 'good neighbor' pesticide-use guidelines on Kauai

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:25 a.m. HST, Nov 14, 2013

Hawaii Department of Agriculture officials Wednesday released details about a plan to put in place voluntary pesticide-use guidelines on Kauai, starting Dec. 1.

The announcement comes one day before the Kauai County Council is slated to meet to consider overriding Mayor Carvalho Jr.'s veto of Bill 2491, which calls for mandatory disclosures pertaining to large-scale  pesticide use and farming of genetically modified crops. 

The bill will become an ordinance if five of the county's six councilmembers vote to override. 

The "Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program" -- organized by the state Department of Agriculture's Pesticides Branch -- applies to large agribusiness operations including Syngeta, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, and Kauai Coffee, the largest coffee grower in the state. 

According to a news release issued by the Department of Agriculture, under the program, participating companies will provide a weekly schedule to schools, hospitals and medical clinics within 1,000 feet of the farming operations of any planned restricted use pesticide application. Companies will also notify the site of any anticipated changes in the weekly schedule at least 24 hours in advance.

The guidelines also include 100-foot buffer zones near schools, medical facilities and residential properties. Participating companies will also file a monthly report to the Pesticides Branch of the restricted use pesticides they sprayed on their fields. 

State agricultural officials plan to assess the program after one year of operation.

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