Some of my friends and acquaintances have asked me why would I choose to work for a company like Monsanto. The answer is simple: I want to make a difference.
Monsanto is a company that improves seeds for farmers throughout the world.
The work that my colleagues do here on Maui and elsewhere is exciting and meaningful to people and communities across the globe.
I've met grateful farmers who talk enthusiastically about how our seeds have made a positive difference, helping them grow healthy fields that yield more while reducing the amount of pesticide sprayings and greenhouse gas emissions from farming operations.
I've met brilliant researchers who have discovered innovative solutions to tough challenges like how to produce food under drought conditions, and how to make plants stronger and healthier.
I am surrounded by talented co-workers who've studied water movement in the soil on our farms and figured out how to reduce our water usage by a whopping 25 percent.
To think that our small island state can make such a huge difference for the planet is mind-boggling. And to think that my co-workers and I are helping to make that difference is truly amazing.
That said, I recognize and appreciate that not everyone feels the same way, and that there are questions about our work. Monsanto understands that these topics matter greatly to people on both sides, and we are steadfast to our companywide pledge to transparency and dialogue.
While we are happy to talk about who we are and what we do, honest dialogue is difficult in an atmosphere of hysteria and misinformation, much of which has been advanced by organized activist groups who have publicly stated that their goal is to run us out of Hawaii.
Monsanto Hawaii and other seed companies have been subjected to a wide array of outrageous and false accusations with no basis in data or facts. Our employees and supporters have been targeted and harassed. Public properties on Maui and other islands have been defaced with offensive graffiti, and we've received threats of destruction to our property and facilities.
It's no wonder that our thousand employees and their families are concerned for their safety and their jobs.
The safety and availability of our food is an important topic worthy of an honest and mutually respectful discussion. But good decisions cannot be made on bad information. As a community, we cannot and should not tolerate intimidation and hateful language, nor any effort to drive legitimate businesses out of the state. Such irresponsible and threatening behavior only serves to generate fear and divide the community, and benefits no one.
Monsanto is dedicated to using the best scientific knowledge and technologies to create high quality products that provide real benefits to our customers. Nearly two decades of data and an abundance of studies affirm that our products have helped farmers grow more food, reduce fuel consumption and adopt more eco-friendly farming practices.
We're committed to being a good corporate citizen and strongly support the communities in which our employees live and work. We're proud to promote Hawaii's agricultural industry, to support science and agricultural education statewide and to contribute to a significant number of nonprofit organizations.
We have an amazing and dedicated hardworking family of employees that plays an integral role in our stellar safety record and accomplishments. We respect everyone's right to voice their opinion, and all we ask for is honest, mutually respectful dialogue.
Our company is making a difference to produce more, conserve more and improve lives within our community and globally. And I am proud to be a part of Monsanto.
Monsanto offers presentations to community groups with a genuine interest in learning more about us. We are happy to accommodate interested groups, and welcome anyone to visit our website (www.monsanto.com) for more information.
* Carol Reimann is the Maui Community & Government Affairs manager for Monsanto Hawaii.