Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

February 03, 2016

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Application Open for Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program

Academic and Research Institutions Can Apply for a License to Grow and Research the Crop as an Agricultural Commodity

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that higher education and research institutions can now apply for a license under the State’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program.  Up to ten permits may be issued to universities to grow and research the crop as an agricultural commodity.

“The Department has worked to provide a measured approach to this agricultural area by encouraging the State’s premier higher education institutions to conduct meaningful research on the potential of this crop,” said Commissioner Ball. “The State recognizes the importance of studying industrial hemp as a viable agricultural crop, which may help farmers diversify their production and provide new economic opportunities for agriculture.”

The Department will oversee the application and licensing process, and will provide up to 10, three-year permits to academic institutions to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.  Areas of research may include variety evaluation, harvesting, processing and manufacturing hemp into finished products and the marketing of the crop. Universities may contract with farmers to grow hemp for industrial purposes.  The universities and farmers are responsible for following all of the regulations.

Academic and research institutions can apply for the program on the Department’s website at  For more information, please contact 518-457-2087.  Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis.

The 2014 U.S. Farm Bill legalized the growth of hemp for research by departments of agriculture or higher education institutions in states where it has been approved by law.  In New York State, legislation creating New York’s pilot program was sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom O’Mara, and Governor Cuomo signed the law in December 2014.  Final regulations on the pilot program were released by the Department in January 2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and various land grant universities have documented the commercial uses of industrial hemp to include textiles, building materials, paper, food, body products and environmental products such as biofuels. In 2012, retail sales from imported hemp products were estimated at $500 million.

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