State officials push for hemp in New York

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Hemp looks likely to expand in New York state (USA) as officials this year have opened up licensing following two years of tightly controlled development.

Under the expanded pilot initiative, those looking to enter the hemp value chain must still obtain a license and submit specific plans for cultivation, research, product development and marketing. The current round of licensing, which began just last week, is open to all potential stakeholders.

$ 5 million in grants

New York looks determined to establish a viable hemp industry, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo who last summer announced a $5 million industrial hemp processing grant program that can fund up to $500,000 for qualified projects related to hemp production. Dispensed and managed by New York Empire State Development, the grants are to help offset the capital requirements of developing hemp enterprises.

Only 20 partners currently participate in the New York state industrial hemp program, with approximately 2,000 acres of hemp under cultivation this year.

Underpinning the nascent sector is a state Industrial Hemp Working Group recently formed among state lawmakers and officials, researchers and industry stakeholders. They will guide the state on policy, research, promotions and other initiatives aimed at growing the hemp industry in New York.

Looking for innovation

“By expanding industrial hemp research, we are opening the doors to innovative ideas that could provide a major boost to our farms and communities, creating new jobs, and laying the foundation for future economic growth,” Cuomo said in announcing the grant program.

New York has passed a series of laws in recent years to promote and expand the industrial hemp industry, particularly in the Southern Tier and Catskills, west of the Catskill Mountains along the northern border of Pennsylvania.

To qualify for a hemp license, applicants must complete an affadavit, and submit detailed research and marketing plans as well as indicate how they will obtain certified planting seed. Through a newly granted federal license, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets can facilitate the import of industrial hemp seed from international sources on behalf of participants in the State’s program. “This will allow participants to assess the quality of hemp seed from a variety of sources and advance agronomic, marketing and manufacturing research opportunities,” state officials said.

A $500 application fee is required. The licensing application deadline is Nov. 22, 2017.

New York State Industrial Hemp Working Group

  • Richard A. Ball, Commissioner, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (Chair)
  • Senator Thomas O’Mara
  • Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo
  • Mike Barnhart, Plant Science Laboratories
  • Susie Cody, NYS Hemp Industries Association
  • Benjamin Banks-Dobson, Old Mud Creek Farm LLC
  • Dan Dolgin, JD Farms
  • Ira Fair, 21st Century Hemp
  • Liisa Fiedelholtz, formerly of Ann, Inc.
  • Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, SUNY Morrisville
  • David Grusenmeyer, New York Farm Viability Institute
  • Marc Privitera, PreProcess, Inc.
  • Larry Smart, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Julie Suarez, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Nicholas Vita, Columbia Care LLC
  • Steven Wood, SUNY Research Foundation
  • Jeff Williams, New York Farm Bureau

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