Senator May and Assemblymember Lupardo Announce New Law to Expand the State’s Grown and Certified Program to Textile Products like Wool and Hemp

Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) and Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (D-Broome) are pleased to announce that their legislation to expand the state’s Grown and Certified Program to include fiber-based textiles has been signed by Governor Cuomo. The bill (S.3396A/A.5380B) enables animal and plant-based fiber products, including wool, alpaca, cashmere, hemp, and linen, to receive the state’s coveted seal of approval.

The New York Grown and Certified program was started by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016 to raise the profile of New York farm products and encourage development of local supply chains. Brand recognition of NY-based products has elevated markets for items ranging from maple syrup to cheese, yogurt, beer, and even Christmas trees and firewood. Products made from wool, hemp and other local plant and animal fibers were not previously included in this program but are now eligible.

“I am extremely happy to report that the Governor has signed my bill to include our state’s producers of homegrown clothing and other fiber products in the Grown and Certified Program just in time for our state and local fairs,” said Senator Rachel May. “New York’s textile manufacturers are eager to showcase their high-quality products, and consumers increasingly value the opportunity to purchase local products. The boom in industrial hemp and the growing interest in sheep and alpaca farming are trends we should reward and encourage, and the hope is that this new opportunity will also enhance connections between New York growers, processors, and producers of finished items. As an avid knitter and amateur fiber artist myself, I can’t wait to see our own prominent citizens sporting New York Grown and Certified fashions.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Agricultural Committee said, “This bill is part of a larger strategy to promote the state’s fiber industry through marketing and continuing development. I am very glad this bill was signed into law so that fiber producers, including those producing hemp fiber, will have the opportunity to participate in New York’s Grown and Certified Program. It is an important step that I hope adds momentum to a new and exciting “farm to fashion” movement building in NYS.”

Mary Jeanne Packer, founder and president of Battenkill Fibers said, "Adding New York-produced animal and plant fibers to the New York Grown and Certified Program will go a long way to support expansion of a commercially viable farm-to-fabric supply chain here in the state by elevating the visibility of high-quality New York-grown textile products among consumers. Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator May’s leadership and support for this effort is greatly appreciated; and will result in revitalizing New York State’s network of small fiber farms and local custom fiber processing businesses such as our carding and spinning mill."

New York also has markets for the products at all stages of development, including the largest annual sheep and wool festival in the United States, held at Dutchess County Fairgrounds every October. New York Grown and Certified products are showcased at the many Taste NY boutiques around the state and at the New York State Fair, as well as getting promotion and exposure from the Department of Agriculture and Markets.