Those interested in growing or processing industrial hemp in New York have until Dec. 28 to submit applications to the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Applicants can also apply to process cannabidiol (CBD), which has exploded in popularity this year for its purported health and wellness benefits. CBD is a component of hemp, and oils contain little to none of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Industrial hemp contains 0.3 percent THC or less.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research pilot program in 2015, and the hemp industry is expected to blossom under the new federal Farm Bill, which was passed by Congress last week.
President Donald Trump has indicated his support. The bill would remove hemp from the controlled substances list, clearing the way for American farmers to grow and harvest it.
In New York, more than 100 new research partners were added in 2018, expanding the amount of farmland approved for hemp research to 3,500 acres statewide. The Department of Agriculture and Markets continues to accept applications on a rolling basis for future research partners in the areas of grain and fiber.
SUNY Cobleskill conducted research this year to investigate the incidences and impact of certain diseases in hemp plants, while also looking at the effects of different spacing and soils. The college will continue research in 2019 with the help of students studying plant science.
Aidan Woishnis, a Gilbertsville native, worked with two farmers this year while working with a trade association and building a website to educate people on hemp and how they can join the industry.
“There’s an issue that we don’t really have the infrastructure in place to get the hemp to the end product,” Woishins said.
Farmers Woishnis worked with in Gilbertsville and New Woodstock grew a total of about 15 acres of a fiber and grain variety of hemp, but the crops were washed away by rain before they could be harvested in September.
“It definitely gave us a great learning experience,” Woishnis said. The 22-year-old said he wants to be involved in the fiber hemp industry and hopes that his website, whatcannado.com, will be a resource for people looking to enter the “green rush.”