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Hemp summit shows hemp cultivation already underway in the Southern Tier

ITHACA, N.Y. - In 2014, a federal farm bill was passed that authorized the research of industrial hemp across the country. 

Hemp is a form of marijuana that lacks the psychoactive compound that produces a high.

For centuries, it's been cultivated to make paper, rope and other household products.

NewsChannel 34's Rob Lindenmuth was at a statewide summit in Ithaca Wednesday and reports that hemp cultivation is already underway in the Southern Tier.

"It really is all about financial viability and prosperity for the state of New York," said Kathryn Boor.

That was the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University Kathryn Boor and she was talking about the increase in industrial hemp production through the state of New York. With this increase there are hopes that it will bring an increase in jobs for the region, while also advertising goods made right at home in New York state.

"We want to create consumer products that people of the state of New York will be excited about buying because they were grown and manufactured right here in New York state," said Boor.

Since the introduction of the Farm Bill in 2014 which authorized the research of industrial hemp across the country, New York state was quick to realize this was a very interesting opportunity for the state and since 2014 the size of the program has dramatically increased according to commissioner of New York State Agriculture and Markets, Richard Ball.

"First year we had about 30 acres of industrial hemp planted, had a great crop, it excited us all, last year we had a little over 2,000 acres, probably the biggest research planting Cornell or SUNY Morrisville had ever been engaged in and this year we have over 100 applicants that are interested in participating and it could put us well over 3,500 acres," said Ball

But where do Ball and others see the future of industrial help production going?

"Based on what I'm seeing so far and the enthusiasm I'm seeing in that room, standing room only today, and just to look at our research and identify future direction for research, yes I do see this continuing to grow"


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