NPT attended the first Southern Tier Hemp Summit on June 29th, which was held at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator in downtown Binghamton. Hemp industry leaders from across the country were present to share their stories and plan the future production of Industrial Hemp in New York State. Many companies from across the country displayed their hemp-related products and services at this summit.
What is Hemp? Hemp is the typical name for plants of the Cannabis group. This name is mostly used to refer only to Cannabis strains cultivated for Industrial (non-drug) use. Industrial Hemp is used in many industries such as paper, textiles, construction, biodegradable plastics, food, and fuel. After harvesting, the crop has a high yield of cellulose, edible proteins, oils and fibers with thousand of different product applications. Industrial Hemp has only about 0.3% - 1.5% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinoids, the intoxicating element that makes you high) while marijuana has about 5%- 10% or more THC.
New York State has started the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot program to expand Industrial Hemp Processing Capacity Statewide. Last year New York State launched a $5 million Industrial Hemp Processors Grant Fund to promote hemp processing and support business development. This money can be used by related companies to cover capital costs such as new construction and equipment purchase. New York State has also set aside up to $5 million for the New York State research grants to support the research and production of Industrial hemp in New York.