The governor of New York just signed a bill that allows industrial hemp to be not just cultivated, but also transported and sold, which provides a new economic opportunity for state farmers.
The industrial hemp market in New York is expanding, thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signing a bill that allows the crop to be legally sold and transported.
Hemp farming is federally illegal, but President Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill to allow universities and state departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for agricultural or academic research, provided grow sites are registered with their state.
With the signing of S6960/A9310, New York joins the 29 other states that have passed legislation related to industrial hemp. So far, one New York grow site – JD Farms in Eaton, Madison County – has received licensing to participate in the pilot program. The farm is working alongside Morrisville State College to cultivate the crop, which is legally growing in New York for the first time in 80 years.
“New York’s industrial hemp program is off to a tremendous start,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell), co-sponsor of the bill. “Seeds were planted in July and plants that are harvested this fall will now be able to be processed and sold as a result of this legislation. Industrial hemp will benefit not only local agriculture, but has the potential for numerous manufacturing opportunities in the Southern Tier and throughout the state.”
The new law also allows for the hemp to be sold to manufacturers. Industrial hemp can be used to produce an array of products, including textiles, paper, plastics, building materials, car parts, bio-fuel, body care products and food. Hemp is also harvested to produce cannabidiol (CBD), the natural, non-psychoactive compound found in high concentrations in hemp. JD Farms is now growing industrial hemp on 30 acres.
“We are really excited to see this bill signed into law by the Governor,” Dan Dolgin, co-owner of JD Farms, said in a statement. “In order for the state to understand the true economic value of the industrial hemp industry, license-holders must be able to participate in the marketplace as credible growers, manufacturers and distributors of tangible product cultivated in New York soil. This bill makes it possible for us to negotiate price-points with interested buyers and produce statistically relevant data about the current state of the market for other farmers and institutions interested in participating in the program.”
Last year, the U.S. hemp market racked up $573 million in sales and the demand for industrial hemp has been growing “dramatically” in the United States. Calling industrial hemp “a potentially lucrative way to provide new economic opportunities and a competitive edge for state farmers,” Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-Big Flats), sponsor of the bill, believes the new law will offer a boost to the state’s agricultural market.
“This new law significantly strengthens the foundation Assemblywoman Lupardo and I have been building over the past few years 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,” said Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-Big Flats), who sponsored the bill. “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.”