The state's first industrial hemp research forum will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28 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," Gov. Andrew 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."
"Tremendous progress has been made since we convened the very first hemp summit at Cornell in April 2017," said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. "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," she said. "Investing in hemp initiatives will create new jobs and help farmers continue to grow as part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative."
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 duplicating research.
Advancing Hemp Research and Production Across NY
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 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.