ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state’s first industrial hemp research forum will be held Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at Cornell University to support the development of the industry and help transform New York’s agricultural economy. The forum is part of the Governor’s 2018 State of the State proposal to establish New York as a national leader in industrial hemp research, production and processing. It will connect researchers and academics with businesses and processors to develop strategies to advance research in the Southern Tier and throughout the state.
“New York will continue to make strategic investments that support agricultural innovation, expand the state’s farming and manufacturing sectors, and help meet the growing demand for local products,” Governor Cuomo said. “By positioning the Southern Tier at the forefront of industrial hemp research and production, our farmers will capitalize on the growth potential of this crop, create new jobs, and boost economies across the region and the state.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “Tremendous progress has been made since we convened the very first hemp summit at Cornell in April 2017. As I travel the Southern Tier and speak to members of the agricultural and academic communities, I sense the great enthusiasm for this opportunity to create a whole new industry in this region. This research and development forum will expand opportunities for New York’s businesses and farmers to tap into the full potential of industrial hemp production. Investing in hemp initiatives will create new jobs and help farmers continue to grow as part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. This is a game changer for New York’s Southern Tier.”
The forum will focus on improving and expanding New York’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program, which will boost the agricultural sector and ensure the Empire State remains at the forefront of the emerging industry. Growing industrial hemp has the potential to diversify New York’s farms, connect growers to new markets and provide them with new sources of income. Industrial hemp also offers opportunities to support economic growth across the state, including advanced manufacturing of composites, fibers, nutritional supplements and other products.
During the forum, participants in the state’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program will share research findings, challenges and successes from the 2017 growing season. In addition, attendees will discuss ways to capitalize on the potential of this crop by assessing research needs and identifying key areas for future research. By bringing together growers, academics, processors and business owners, the forum will build connections among participants to enhance the studies being conducted and avoid duplicative research.
Advancing Hemp Research and Production Across New York
To further support the development of the industrial hemp industry, the state has invested $650,000 through the Regional Economic Development Councils to establish a brand new, $3.17 million industrial hemp processing facility in the Greater Binghamton area. Southern Tier Hemp, the company leading this effort, develops, manufactures, and sells cannabidiol (CBD)-based health products using a proprietary carbon dioxide based method of extraction.
In addition, as promised in the Governor’s 2018 State of the State address, New York will invest $2 million for a seed certification and breeding program to begin the production of unique hemp varieties. Current participants in the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program rely heavily on imported hemp seeds, which are expensive and often poorly adapted for New York’s agricultural environment. A seed certification and breeding program would reduce New York’s dependence on seed from other states and countries, and would support more productive research. Cornell University will manage the seed breeding program to work to identify the existing hemp cultivars best suited for New York, and to facilitate the licensing and production of certified hemp seed.
Cornell will lead the new seed breeding program by connecting New York industrial hemp farmers, processors and manufacturers to ensure that industrial hemp of the desired quality and quantity is available for various processor uses. Morrisville State College will expand its research as well. The college will continue to study pest and nutrient management, and identify new opportunities for the use of hemp stalks as animal bedding and the potential for the plant to be used for soil remediation.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said, “With Governor Cuomo’s leadership, our farmers, researchers and local businesses are already tapping into the enormous potential of the industrial hemp industry. This research forum will help take their work to the next level. It is a great way to bring everyone to the table to share ideas and success stories, and to better understand areas of research that need more resources or have yet to be explored. By working together, we will put New York State in a better position to lead the resurgence of industrial hemp production and processing.”
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo, there is a renewed interest in the state’s industrial hemp production. New York is supporting an emerging industry in the farm economy with strategic investments that encourage economic growth and job creation.”
Senator Thomas F. O’Mara said, “I have valued the opportunity to work in partnership with Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Lupardo, and many legislative colleagues over the past few years to begin moving New York State to the forefront of a new industry with the potential to diversify our agricultural economy, generate revenue, and create jobs. 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 Southern Tier and Finger Lakes farmers and agribusinesses, together with the state’s agricultural industry overall. We look forward to this important research forum at Cornell University.”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “According to the 2017 US Hemp Crop Report, New York is one of the top five growers in the country and is the leader in the Northeast. The state’s research program has yielded invaluable information that is supporting New York’s leadership in hemp production. This forum will allow everyone from growers, to processors, to manufacturers to share information that will further build this industry. I appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to growing this important sector of our economy.”
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, “In just a couple of years, New York’s licensed hemp crop has increased from 30 to 2000 acres, and this forum is a great chance for participants to share knowledge and experiences, and to increase the momentum to put hemp production in its rightful place in agriculture as a legitimate commodity. A hemp processing plant in the Southern Tier will help elevate the potential of hemp farming in New York to an industrial level, opening doors to job creation and economic opportunities.”
Kathryn J. Boor, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, said, “New York’s industrial hemp program has come a long way in a short period of time, and is poised for tremendous success. This forum will set help the agenda for the next phase of innovation for Cornell researchers, growers, state officials and other university partners in this important initiative. As New York’s land-grant university, one of our roles is to help the state’s agriculture industry open and capitalize on new markets. Based on what we’ve learned so far, and will continue learn, industrial hemp is well positioned to achieve its promise.”
Dr. David Rogers, President of Morrisville State College, said, “We know how to take knowledge and research and make it practical. Morrisville’s leadership in reintroducing industrial hemp as a viable crop has swung the doors wide open for entrepreneurship and growth. Partnering with local farmers, public officials, business leaders and other institutions is a positive development that starts in local communities and has a ripple effect up through the regional economy.”
Southern Tier Hemp Co-founder & CEO Michael Falcone said, “Southern Tier Hemp is a vertically-integrated agri-tech company launching a suite of wellness products and superfoods later this year. We are also opening our northeast regional processing facility in Binghamton, New York this fall. This facility will eventually process hemp from cultivars all across the northeast. We will expand our capabilities to process hemp for fiber, plastic as well as other superfoods. Additionally, through our exclusive partnership with Binghamton University we will help forward the clinical body of research on CBD and other cannabinoids derived from hemp. We are excited about the social, economic and environmental benefits of hemp and know that New York State is the perfect place to move this industry forward.”
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has made strategic investments in the development of the industrial hemp industry. Last year,the Governor convened the first-ever New York State Industrial Hemp Summit and Working Group and committed $10 million to support industrial hemp research, production and processing. In just one year, New York State has more than tripled the number of growers participating in industrial hemp research, resulting in the planting of approximately 2,000 acres of the crop.
—The Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
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