Albany, NY According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, new actions to grow New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry will be implemented. Building on the success of the state’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program that launched in 2016, the governor has proposed to amend legislation to further grow the industry and authorize farmers to work with the state to conduct hemp research as an agricultural commodity.
In addition, the governor will host the first-ever Industrial Hemp Summit in the Southern Tier to bring manufacturers, farmers, researchers and other stakeholders together to identify challenges and opportunities to grow the industry and boost the agricultural economy throughout the state.
“New York is a beacon for innovation, smart growth and emerging industries – and with this proposal, we will continue to diversify and grow our agriculture industry, while supporting research and development and creating jobs throughout the state,” governor Cuomo said. “We will position New York at the forefront of a growing agricultural sector that is ripe with economic opportunity, and capitalize on our agricultural assets to provide farmers with top-notch resources enabling them to grow the hemp industry for decades to come.”
Hemp is a growing commodity for states across the nation, as both the stalk and seed from hemp can be used in the production of a variety of goods, including clothing, building materials, fuel, paper, and consumer products. Industrial hemp is defined by .3% THC or less, and has generated $573 million in sales in the U.S. in 2015 alone. Currently, the production of hemp is authorized at research projects at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and SUNY Morrisville College.
New York’s Emerging Hemp Industry
Many valleys throughout the region have the ideal climate and soil for this crop to flourish, which has led to the interest by Cornell and Morrisville’s research programs. Over the past year, Cornell has conducted research on seeding equipment and plans to start a number of trials during the next growing season. Additionally, Morrisville has led experiments with organic fertilizers and potential uses of hemp. To build upon these successes, the governor has proposed to:
Amend Legislation and Regulations
This will expand the Industrial Hemp Agriculture Pilot Program by authorizing private farms to work with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to begin researching and growing the product. This collaboration will allow for the proper business planning, product monitoring and data collection that is consistent with research objectives of the pilot program. In addition, this will increase the number of permitted hemp sites. Current law allows up to 10 sites in the state, authorized by the Department of Agriculture and Market’s commissioner, to grow or cultivate industrial hemp.
Industrial Hemp Summit
The summit will serve as a dialogue for researchers, farmers, manufacturers, state and local officials, and other economic development leaders, to identify limitations, assess potential benefits, and determine what additional policy actions may be necessary to continue to spur this rapidly growing industry. Taking place in the Southern Tier, the summit will focus on discussing issues including the cost of production, potential markets, and profitability of growing hemp.
Secure the Industry
The Department of Agriculture and Markets will review security and transportation requirements in the current regulation and develop revisions that reflect the minimal risk hemp poses.