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State approves Binghamton University for industrial hemp research State approves Binghamton University for industrial hemp research

Binghamton University LogoVESTAL, N.Y. — Binghamton University will participate in a state program in which it will grow and research industrial hemp as an “agricultural commodity.”

The state approved Binghamton’s application to conduct the research in the industrial hemp agricultural pilot program, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release issued Wednesday.

In addition to Binghamton, the state also approved a permit for SUNY Sullivan, which is located in Loch Sheldrake in Sullivan County, west of Poughkeepsie in neighboring Dutchess County.


Binghamton University’s new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPS) will also research cannabidiol to study its potential in the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

SOPPS is a “research-intensive professional” school offering the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree with plans to also offer a doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences, Cuomo’s office said.

“Binghamton University is excited to explore hemp-related research that aims to create medicines and products that improve the lives of New Yorkers. This area of research has great potential,” Gloria Meredith, founding dean of SOPPS, said in Cuomo’s release.

“Agriculture remains a key driver in New York’s economy and we are continuing to explore new ways to provide support for this industry to spur growth in communities across the state,” Cuomo said in the news release. “Expanding New York’s industrial hemp pilot program will create a synergy of growth between some of this state’s top-notch colleges, universities and private farms and encourage more growers to explore the potential economic opportunities associated with this crop. We will continue working to build this partnership and generate growth for local economies across the state for years to come.”

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets oversees the authorization of universities and farms to grow and research industrial hemp. Areas of research may include variety evaluation, harvesting, processing and manufacturing hemp into finished products and the marketing of the crop.

New York could issue up to 10 research permits to universities and private farms to grow and research the crop as an agricultural commodity.

In addition to Binghamton and SUNY Sullivan, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Morrisville State College secured permits to produce hemp for research in 2016.

Over the past year, Cornell has conducted research on seeding equipment and plans to start a number of trials during the next growing season. Morrisville has led experiments with organic fertilizers and researched potential uses of hemp.

The department is currently reviewing applications to issue the remaining six available permits under the pilot program, which now includes an opportunity for private farms to partner with the department.


Part of Cuomo agenda

Gov. Cuomo in January announced new actions to advance New York’s industrial-hemp industry as part of his State of the State address.

Building on the “success” of New York’s industrial hemp agricultural pilot program, Cuomo proposed to amend legislation to further the industry.

The new legislation would expand the pilot program and authorize an unlimited number of farms to work with the state to research industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Cuomo also plans to host the first-ever industrial hemp summit in the Southern Tier. The event will bring together manufacturers, farmers, researchers and other stakeholders to “identify challenges and opportunities to expand the industry and boost the agricultural economy throughout the state,” according to Cuomo’s release.

The release didn’t provide details on when or where the state is planning the meeting.

Many valleys throughout New York, including the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley, have the “ideal climate and soil for this crop to flourish,” Cuomo’s office contends.

With agriculture identified as one of the “top” economic drivers for the Southern Tier through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), the summit will “help set the stage” for the hemp program’s next phase.

The URI was Cuomo’s 2015 economic-development contest in which the Southern Tier captured one of three $500 million grand prizes.


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