New York will provide $5 million in funding to promote the commercialization of products made from hemp and other biomaterials, under several agriculture initiatives announced by state officials this week.

“These investments seek to create new market opportunities for New York products and protect the sustainable growth and management of biomass to be used for products and materials in our growing bio-economy,” according to a press release from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office.

Seeking resilience

Hochul said the farm initiatives reflect the state’s plan to make the agriculture sector “more resilient, and proactive against future threats spanning health, environment, labor, and education industries.”

“I’m committed to supporting the growth of agriculture and food production and am continuing to focus on policies and investments that support our farmers,” Hochul said.

The state will also invest $2.25 million to advance pest management solutions through Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management Program.

Hemp feed bill vetoed

Hochul last month vetoed legislation on hempseed animal feed, suggesting more research is needed to ensure animal safety. The governor cited a lack of approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in turning back two bills related to the inclusion of hemp seeds in pet food and certain animal feed formulas.

Hochul directed researchers at Cornell to study the impacts of the use of hemp seed or hemp seed products in animal feed “in an expeditious manner” as part of an effort to expand the state’s hemp outputs.

New York hemp harvests have been minuscule, and virtually no fiber and no hemp seed are being produced. New York Farmers harvested just 120 acres of hemp in 2022, all of that for CBD flowers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service.

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