ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an open solicitation for farmers, businesses and research institutions interested in growing and processing industrial hemp as part of the State’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. Earlier this year, the program was expanded to include private entities to ensure New York’s leadership in research concerning hemp production and manufacturing, supporting a 6,000 percent increase in number of acres dedicated to industrial hemp production in the State. There are now more than 20 partners in the State’s pilot program licensed to grow industrial hemp on approximately 2,000 acres in New York State compared to 30 acres planted in 2016.
“Industrial hemp has the potential to become an economic engine not just in New York, but across the country and with this effort, we can lead the way in this emerging industry,” said Governor Cuomo. “By expanding industrial hemp research, we are opening the doors to innovative ideas that could provide a major boost to our farms and communities, creating new jobs, and laying the foundation for future economic growth.”
New York producers, businesses and universities interested in participating in the State’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program can apply here. The open solicitation ends on November 22, 2017.
“Today’s announcement moves New York closer to realizing the economic potential of industrial hemp,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended the state’s first hemp summit at Cornell University in April. “By removing outdated regulatory obstacles and increasing opportunity for private sector research we will open new markets for our growers, create manufacturing jobs, and position New York as a national leader in this emerging sector.”
Importing Industrial Hemp Seed
Acquiring high-quality seed is critical to completing successful research. Through its new federal license, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets can facilitate the import of industrial hemp seed from international sources on behalf of participants in the State’s program. This will allow participants to assess the quality of hemp seed from a variety of sources and advance agronomic, marketing and manufacturing research opportunities.
Industrial Hemp Working Group
To further support the development of the industry in New York, an Industrial Hemp Working Group was established through legislation signed by Governor Cuomo last July to advise the State on policies and initiatives that will help grow the industry. The group met for the first time today. The following members include researchers and key industry leaders who will serve two-year terms and will make recommendations related to policy and program changes, as well as research and promotional opportunities:
- Richard A. Ball, Commissioner, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (Chair)
- Senator Thomas O’Mara
- Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo
- Mike Barnhart, Plant Science Laboratories
- Susie Cody, NYS Hemp Industries Association
- Benjamin Banks-Dobson, Old Mud Creek Farm LLC
- Dan Dolgin, JD Farms
- Ira Fair, 21st Century Hemp
- Liisa Fiedelholtz, formerly of Ann, Inc.
- Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, SUNY Morrisville
- David Grusenmeyer, New York Farm Viability Institute
- Marc Privitera, PreProcess, Inc.
- Larry Smart, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Julie Suarez, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Nicholas Vita, Columbia Care LLC
- Steven Wood, SUNY Research Foundation
- Jeff Williams, New York Farm Bureau
Capital Grants for Industrial Hemp Processors
To enhance industrial hemp processing, New York State also launched a $5 million Industrial Hemp Processors Grant Fund in July. Administered by Empire State Development, in consultation with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the program helps cover capital costs related to the processing of industrial hemp, including new construction and the purchase of equipment. Grants of up to $500,000 are available to qualifying applicants. Program guidelines and applications are available here.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The resurgence of industrial hemp manufacturing and processing in the U.S. is bringing new promise to dozens of industries, including agriculture, which is critical to New York State’s economy. With our exceptional research institutions, innovative entrepreneurs and diligent farmers leading the way, the State’s pilot program is advancing key research that has the potential to boost the sustainability of our agricultural sector and support economic growth across the State.”
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “New York State is supporting job creation and economic growth for New York’s producers, businesses and universities, interested in pursuing opportunities in this emerging agricultural market.”
Senator Thomas F. O’Mara said, “I’m grateful to be part of New York State’s Industrial Hemp Working Group and to continue working with the Cuomo administration, the Legislature, and researchers and growers to keep this effort moving forward. New state laws and policies, and ongoing state investments have continued to strengthen the foundation we’ve built over the past several years to place New York State at the forefront of a new, potentially billion-dollar industry. We’re moving forward to ensure that the development and growth of the industrial hemp industry will provide valuable new economic opportunities and a competitive edge for farmers and agribusinesses, generate revenue and create jobs.”
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “Providing our state’s hardworking farmers with new opportunities will ensure their continued success. New investments and the ideas our farmers can bring, will in turn help grow the entire agricultural industry in New York State. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for their continued commitment to agricultural programs that benefit the economy of Upstate New York”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “This expansion of the State’s Industrial Hemp Program sets New York up to be a national leader. It is an opportunity to boost farms, processors, and manufacturers across the state with this new agricultural commodity. Numerous growers and companies want to take advantage of this crop that we expect to vastly expand our agricultural economy. I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to growing the hemp industry across New York State and look forward to seeing these efforts come to fruition.”
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, “Advancing opportunities in industrial hemp research and development is extremely beneficial to our innovative farmers and entrepreneurs who envision the future of hemp in New York. I look forward to and encourage the growth of this industry.”
Legislation originally proposed by the Governor in his 2017 State of the State Address eliminated the cap on the number of sites authorized to grow and research industrial hemp in New York State. In April 2017, Governor Cuomo convened the State’s first Industrial Hemp Summit and announced several actions to support the emerging industry in New York.
Following on the heels of the Industrial Hemp Summit, the Governor signed legislation to solidify the status of industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity under New York Agriculture and Markets Law, and create a one-stop shop and webpage to help producers and processors better understand state and federal regulations and requirements.
—NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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