State of the State address calls for Southern Tier to be leader in production
(SYRACUSE, NY) – New York’s industrial hemp program got a major boost Wednesday under the Governor’s latest State of the State proposal. During his address in Syracuse, the Governor proposed that the state’s current cap of ten hemp farming licenses be lifted and private farms be allowed to work directly with the state to grow industrial hemp. He acknowledged that “hemp farming has the potential to be a billion dollar industry” and added that the Southern Tier is “ideal” for New York’s hemp production.
“This is exactly what we’ve been working toward,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “When the Federal Government gave the green light in 2014, I knew the Southern Tier was an ideal spot given our rich farming history and the amount of available land. New York is poised to be a leader in this expanding industry and I thank the Governor for recognizing its value to our region and state.”
Following the announcement, the Governor issued a news release that elaborated on this plan. In addition to expanding the program, a hemp summit is being planned in the Southern Tier which will focus on discussing issues including the cost of production, potential markets, and profitability of growing hemp.
New York State’s industrial hemp program began in 2014 after Lupardo introduced and passed legislation which allowed hemp to be grown for research purposes. This law followed action by the Federal Government, which included a section in the 2014 Farm Bill to allow states to grow hemp when partnering with their Departments of Agriculture or licensed universities.
Regulations for this program were finalized in January of 2016. The state’s first hemp seeds in over 80 years were planted at JD Farms in Eaton, NY which is operating under a license awarded to Morrisville State College, the first license issued in the state. JD Farms harvested its crop in October 2016.
Last Spring, the State Legislature passed Lupardo’s second industrial hemp bill which allows for the transportation, processing, sale and distribution of hemp grown under the research pilot program. That bill was signed into law in August of 2016.
Both the stalk and seed from hemp can be used in the production of a variety of goods including textiles, building materials, paper, food, and environmental products such as biofuels. It is a source of cannabidiol, a chemical compound used in medical marijuana applications, and is also rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which gives it numerous health benefits to both humans and animals. According to a 2015 report, retail sales from imported hemp products were estimated at $600 million in the United States.