A proposed hemp processing plant could be coming to the Southern Tier with the help of $650,000 from next year’s state budget.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo allocated $650,000 in his proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year to go toward the building of a hemp processing plant in the Binghamton area.
The inclusion of the money was applauded by local leaders. The plant, whose location has yet to be determined, would cost about $3.2 million in total to complete according to the budget
“We are very fortunate that the Southern Tier is viewed as central to its development in New York state,” Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, Broome County, said in a statement.
“Industrial hemp has tremendous economic potential for our region: putting farmland back to use, establishing processors like Southern Tier Hemp, and bringing many new manufacturing opportunities.”
According to the assemblywoman, the company Southern Tier Hemp has been working with Binghamton University’s Pharmacy School and local farms. They have received support for a processing plant in Broome County.
Michael Falcone, CEO of Southern Tier Hemp, praised the inclusion of the money in the budget, which will now need state legislative approval. The money was first included in the Regional Development Council awards announced in December.
“Access to capital is critical to building the necessary infrastructure to support our burgeoning hemp industry,” Falcone said.
“As the industry continues to scale, processing can become a bottleneck to growth. Having a processing facility in New York’s Southern Tier dedicated to solving that will be indispensable for all of us and will give all hemp producers in the region a competitive edge.”
An industrial hemp processing plant helps create hemp fibers and oils that can then be used to make clothing, fibers, medicine, shoes, bags, filters, construction materials, mulch, paper and many other products.
The governor’s budget also includes investing $2 million in hemp seeds and breeding in the hopes of producing a New York hemp seed.
Cuomo also announced that the state would hold an industrial hemp research forum in February to hear from hemp researchers, businesses and processors about the industry and to discuss ways to further hemp research across the state.
According to the budget, the state will also be importing thousands of pounds of hemp seeds to help farmers obtain high-quality seeds more easily.
Industrial hemp became legal to grow in New York in 2014.
In 2016, the state was growing 30 acres of industrial hemp, but it has grown to about 2,000 acres licensed to produce the crop last year.