New York’s farmers are waiting for changes in the state’s hemp industry after President Donald Trump signed a new farm bill into law last December.
The 2018 Farm Bill, amongst other provisions, is expected to open new doors for struggling farmers and expand hemp as a mainstream commodity with legislation that makes growing the high-value crop legal across all 50 states.
Although industrial hemp cultivation has been legal in New York since 2015, it was initially allowed under a pilot program. The state offered a limited number of research licenses to those interested in growing, processing and selling hemp for research purposes, starting with colleges and eventually expanding to farmers and businesses.
“The reason they were a research pilot program is because the 2014 Farm Bill required that states be allowed to conduct research to see whether industrial hemp was viable for states,” said Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, an assistant professor of soil science and agronomy at SUNY Morrisville. “Now that industrial hemp is legalized, that guise of having all of the grow for research is gone.”
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