First Hemp Seeds Planted as Part of State’s Research Program

Morrisville State College partnering with JD Farms for research

Eaton, NY – For the first time in 80 years, hemp seeds have been sewn in New York State. Planting took place Sunday at JD Farms in Eaton, NY as part of New York’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.

“We are thrilled to be the first farm to put these seeds back into New York soil,” said Dan Dolgin, co-owner of JD Farms. “Hemp products are everywhere, but all those goods are being made with imported fibers and oils. This is the first step in getting our state involved in this multi-billion dollar worldwide industry.”

In March of 2016, Morrisville State College was granted the State’s first license and entered into an agreement with J & D Farms to plant the seeds. Hemp research was authorized under a bill passed by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom O’Mara and signed into law by the Governor in 2014. The law permits the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to issue up to ten licenses to colleges and universities to conduct research; licensees in turn are able to contract with local farms to grow the crop.

“This is a historic day for the State’s agricultural industry,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “This marks the beginning of a new industrial crop with enormous economic potential. Industrial hemp will benefit not only local agriculture, but has the potential for numerous manufacturing opportunities in the Southern Tier and throughout the state."

Morrisville and JD Farms will study the conditions under which industrial hemp best grows in this particular climate and soil conditions. This effort will help produce a guide that farmers across the state can reference in anticipation of the crop becoming commercially viable under state and federal law.

During this year’s legislative session, Lupardo and O’Mara passed a new bill that will allow for the transportation, processing, sale, and distribution of hemp grown as part of the research program. Under federal law, the DEA is prohibited from using federal funds to interfere with "the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp" that is grown in accordance with state law. Changes to New York’s law will codify this, allowing farms and research institutions to bring hemp products to market.

Both the stalk and seed from hemp can be used in the production of a variety of goods including textiles, building materials, paper, food, body products and environmental products such as biofuels. It is also a source of cannabidiol, the oil used in medical marijuana applications, and is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which gives it numerous health benefits to both humans and animals. In 2015, retail sales from imported hemp products were estimated at $600 million.