Expands Research Trials to More Than 3,500 Acres Across Nine Regions
Applications for Proposed Research in Food and Fiber Now Being Accepted Here
Supports "Southern Tier Soaring" - the Region's Strategic Plan to Revitalize Communities and Grow Regional Economies
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than 60 new farms and businesses have received research permits under the State's Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot program. These new research partners expand across the state, including seven counties in the Southern Tier, and will focus their studies in biotechnology and agronomics, among other areas. Additionally, for the first time, applications for future research partners in the areas of food and fiber will now be accepted on a continuous basis.
"There is a renewed interest in industrial hemp production and processing throughout the country, and with our strong grower community and innovative researchers, New York is in a great position to lead," Governor Cuomo said. "By providing an alternative crop for our farmers, industrial hemp has the potential to change the landscape of our agricultural economy, create jobs and drive growth across the Southern Tier and throughout New York."
To broaden New York's Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program, Governor Cuomo announced an open solicitation, which ended in November 2017, drawing applications from more than 100 farms and businesses. Currently, 62 applicants have received research permits for the 2018 growing season with additional research partners in the approval process. In addition, 18 New York companies have registered to process industrial hemp, which is key to advancing market research and supporting a growing demand for industrial hemp products nationwide.
To continue advancing the pilot program in the Southern Tier and throughout the state, applications for future food and fiber research proposals are now being accepted on a rolling basis and are not subject to a deadline. The application is available on the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets website here.
This year, with the addition of the new research partners, approximately 3,500 acres of New York farmland are approved for industrial hemp research trials, compared to 2,000 acres in 2017. Research projects will focus on utilizing industrial hemp as a source of food, fiber and grain for the production of animal bedding, insulation, pellets for heating and many other consumer products.
Researchers will also explore the potential cosmetic and wellness benefits of CBDs. They will also conduct biotechnology work and study indoor plant breeding and cloning methods as a possible source of transplantable plant stock for growers. Expanding the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program will allow for more comprehensive studies on a wide range of topics and help New York secure its position as a national leader in the emerging industrial hemp industry.
Expanding Industrial Hemp Processing Capacity Statewide
Building a strong processing capacity for industrial hemp is important to supporting market research and meeting the growing demand for industrial hemp products nationwide. Through the 18 registered processing companies, New York will have the capacity to process industrial hemp for the craft beverage sector, food production, CBD oils for wholesale, heating and building materials, fiber and more.
New York State's $5 million Industrial Hemp Processors Grant Fund was launched last year to enhance hemp processing and support business development. The program helps cover capital costs related to industrial hemp processing including new construction and the purchase of equipment. In January 2018, Governor Cuomo announced the state also invested $650,000 through the Regional Economic Development Councils to establish a $3.17 million industrial hemp processing facility in the Greater Binghamton area. Southern Tier Hemp, the company leading this effort, develops, manufactures, and sells CBD-based health products using a proprietary method of extraction.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said, "The commitment of our Governor and our legislative partners to make this a successful program has opened the door new possibilities in New York's agricultural industry and so many other fields. There are thousands of uses for industrial hemp and these new research projects will continue to strengthen our understanding of its many benefits. At the same time, the pilot program is supporting opportunities for diversification on New York farms at a time when many farmers are struggling."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "New York State is supporting industrial hemp research and production through strategic projects identified by the Regional Economic Development Councils. As the industry continues to emerge and expand, it will generate economic growth and create jobs statewide."
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "We can ensure the continued success of our state's hardworking farmers by providing them with increased opportunities for diversifying and expanding their businesses. If we invest in our farmers, and allow them to use their ideas and creativity, our agricultural industry will only grow. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for their commitment to our farmers and investing in programs that will help bolster our state's leading industry, and New York's economy as a whole."
Senator Thomas F. O'Mara said, "We have worked steadily over the past several years to move New York State to the forefront of this new industry with the potential to diversify our agricultural economy, generate revenue and create jobs. We're moving ahead 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, together with the state's agricultural industry overall."
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, "Opportunities in industrial hemp production in New York rely on the research and development that is extremely beneficial to our innovative farmers and entrepreneurs who envision the future potential of hemp that is grown here. This research is instrumental in revealing the opportunities intrinsic to New York State grown hemp for this revamped, revitalized industry."
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "All around the country people are realizing the vast potential of industrial hemp for farmers, processors, manufacturers, and researchers. I am very proud of the leading role NYS is playing in the buildup of this new industry. All eyes are on New York as we show what can happen when government, higher education, farms and other businesses work together on this groundbreaking effort."
Today's announcement follows the State's first industrial hemp research forum, held in February at Cornell University. The forum was 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 and transform New York's agricultural economy. It brought together researchers, academics, businesses and processors to develop strategies to advance research throughout the state.
In April 2017, Governor Cuomo also convened the State's first Industrial Hemp Summit and announced several actions to support the emerging industry in New York. He later signed legislation establishing an industrial hemp working group, a one-stop shop and webpage to support growth in the industry. The Department of Agriculture and Markets also secured a federal permit to facilitate imports of industrial hemp seed on behalf of participants in the State's pilot program.
Nationally, Industrial Hemp generates nearly $600 million per year in sales of a variety of consumer, industrial and medical products. Recognizing its potential impact on manufacturing, job creation, and the profitability of farms across New York State, the Governor launched the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program in 2015. There were more than 20 research partners permitted to grow and research industrial hemp in 2017.
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement also complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation.
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. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment 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.