New York moves forward on state hemp production plan with USDA approval

Agriculture regulators in New York announced last week that the state’s hemp production plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The green light came just days before the Jan. 1 deadline to submit a hemp plan to the USDA that adheres to the federal final rules under the 2018 Farm Bill.

New York is currently the leading hemp state in the U.S., with 800 producers registered to grow industrial hemp on more than 30,000 acres, according to state agriculture commissioner Richard A. Ball.

“Under this new plan, our growers will have stability and consistency and regulations moving forward, with continued guidance and support from the department,” Ball said in a statement.

Despite some uncertainty about the future of the state’s hemp plan last year, Ball certified that New York has the resources and personnel to administer a USDA-compliant hemp program.

“It is clear that hemp production in New York State is here to stay, and we look forward to New York’s farmers realizing the full economic potential of hemp in the years to come,” Ball wrote in the USDA plan.

With the newly approved state hemp program officially underway, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is now accepting applications and all currently licensed growers under the pilot research program must reapply to grow hemp in 2022.

Last month, New York’s Cannabis Control Board, which oversees both the hemp and marijuana industries, loosened CBD restrictions including potency limits, serving sizes and warnings about THC levels.