ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that two new institutions of higher education have applied for and received research permits under the State’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot program. Binghamton University and SUNY Sullivan are now authorized participants of the pilot program. Up to ten research permits may be issued to universities and private farms to grow and research the crop as an agricultural commodity.
“Agriculture remains a key driver in New York’s economy and we are continuing to explore new ways to provide support for this industry to spur growth in communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “Expanding New York’s industrial hemp pilot program will create a synergy of growth between some of this state’s top-notch colleges, universities and private farms and encourage more growers to explore the potential economic opportunities associated with this crop. We will continue working to build this partnership and generate growth for local economies across the state for years to come.”
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets oversees the authorization of universities and farms to grow and research industrial hemp. Areas of research may include variety evaluation, harvesting, processing and manufacturing hemp into finished products and the marketing of the crop.
SUNY Sullivan, in partnership with The Center for Discovery, will focus its research on the effects of certain growing practices on hemp cultivation, and the key properties of cannabidiol extracted from the harvested plants, which has been shown to have important medical benefits. SUNY Sullivan is ranked 8thof the 121 two-year community colleges in the State. The Center for Discovery is an internationally recognized specialty center for individuals with complex disabilities and is well known for innovative models of healthcare, including integrating biodynamically-grown food with medical and clinical care.
Binghamton University’s new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPS)’s will also research cannabidiol to study its potential in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. SOPPS is a research-intensive professional school offering the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree with plans to also offer a doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences.
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Morrisville State College were permitted to produce hemp for research in 2016. Over the past year, Cornell has conducted research on seeding equipment and plans to start a number of trials during the next growing season. Morrisville has led experiments with organic fertilizers and researched potential uses of hemp.
The Department is currently reviewing applications to issue the remaining six available permits under the pilot program, which now includes an opportunity for private farms to partner with the Department.
In January, Governor Cuomo announced new actions to advance New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry as part of his State of the State address. Building on the success of the State’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program, the Governor proposed to amend legislation to further the industry. The new legislation would expand the pilot program and authorize an unlimited number of farms to work with the state to research industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.
Building on the momentum of the Southern Tier Soaring overall economic revitalization initiative, the Governor will also host the first-ever Industrial Hemp Summit in the Southern Tier that will bring manufacturers, farmers, researchers and other stakeholders together to identify challenges and opportunities to expand the industry and boost the agricultural economy throughout the state.
Many valleys throughout the State, including the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley, have the ideal climate and soil for this crop to flourish. With agriculture identified as one of the top economic drivers for the Southern Tier through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, the summit will help set the stage for the next phase of the hemp program. The Hudson Valley also emphasizes agriculture and its related fields as a key component to a successful regional economic development plan.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said, “The State recognizes the importance of studying industrial hemp as a viable agricultural crop, which may help farmers diversify their production and provide new economic opportunities for agriculture. The addition of two excellent higher education institutions will help the State build on its pilot program and provide us with additional research capacity for this commodity.”
SUNY Sullivan Interim President Jay Quaintance said, “SUNY Sullivan is thrilled about this program and the opportunities it provides our students to do innovative research with the staff at the Center for Discovery. We applaud the Governor and the Legislature for providing an avenue to grow this exciting new industry.”
Gloria Meredith, founding dean of the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said, “Binghamton University is excited to explore hemp-related research that aims to create medicines and products that improve the lives of New Yorkers. This area of research has great potential.”
Senator Tom O’Mara said, “Over the past several years, it’s been a pleasure to work cooperatively with Assemblywoman Lupardo and Governor Cuomo to put in place laws that are significantly helping to place New York State at the forefront of a new industry with the potential to diversify our agricultural economy, generate revenue and create jobs. I continue to be pleased that we’re moving forward to ensure the development and growth of an industrial hemp industry that will provide valuable new economic opportunities and a competitive edge for Southern Tier and Finger Lakes farmers and agribusinesses, together with the state’s agricultural industry overall.”
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, “I am pleased to see New York’s Industrial Hemp Pilot program take root and grow, as interest in this diverse agricultural crop is spreading across the nation. Our colleges are leading the way in researching and developing new opportunities for our farmers while helping to develop innovative uses for this sustainable, versatile crop which has varied and vast potential. ”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “I am very happy to see that Binghamton University and Sullivan County Community College have received Industrial Hemp Pilot Research permits. Binghamton University’s research proposal is a strong public and private partnership between their new School of Pharmacy and Nanticoke Gardens, one of the area’s premiere greenhouses. I always envisioned Industrial hemp as a major agricultural and manufacturing opportunity for NYS and the Southern Tier in particular; these new research permits are a major step in that direction.”
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “With the addition of Binghamton University’s planned research on industrial hemp, the Southern Tier has a great opportunity to capitalize on this nascent industry. We look forward to the work of the new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and their innovative research capabilities, which will have great potential to grow the agricultural industry and impact the medical field.”
Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature Luis Alvarez said, “Industrial hemp is becoming a critical player in the agricultural industry and through the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, Sullivan County will play a major role in exploring new ways to bring this crop to its full economic potential. The partnership between SUNY Sullivan and the Center for Discovery will help farmers and researchers find new ways to cultivate this crop and explore opportunities to strengthen the region’s agricultural economy. Under Governor Cuomo, New York continues to create jobs and economic activity through these targeted partnership and I look forward to the benefits this program will bring Sullivan County and the surrounding region.”
Hemp is an emerging commodity in states across the nation, generating an estimated $573 million in sales in 2015. Both the stalk and the seed can be used to produce various goods, including clothing, building materials, fuel, paper, and other consumer products. Hemp that is classified as industrial has no more than 0.3 percent THC. New York has an opportunity to lead industry development by creating more opportunities for businesses to conduct research on the production and manufacture of the product.
The 2014 U.S. Farm Bill legalized the growth of hemp for research by departments of agriculture or higher education institutions in states where it has been approved by law. In New York State, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom O’Mara sponsored legislation that created New York’s pilot program. Governor Cuomo signed the law in December 2014. The Department released regulations on the pilot program in January 2016.
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today’s announcement complements the “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. This initiative is focused on innovation, vigorous business growth and to creating an environment aimed at attracting the best and brightest talent to the region. The State has already invested more than $3.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan which includes investing in key industries such as advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture and in efforts that support the greater Binghamton innovation ecosystem.
Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest.
The $500 million “Southern Tier Soaring” Upstate Revitalization Initiative announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015 will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
–The Office of Gov. Cuomo
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