NY seeking applicants for industrial hemp growing pilot program

ITHACA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Hemp growers are wanted in New York State.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state of New York is accepting applications for industrial hemp growers.

As a small farm, the owners of Piggery Farms and Butcher Shop are always looking for new opportunities to expand their business, and hemp provided them with a new one.

“We’ve made a hemp infused sausage, which is really great because it has a nice protein level,” co-owner Heather Sandford said.

The Piggery Farm partnered with JD Farms, the first industrial hemp growers in New York State, and have been incorporating hemp into their products ever since. Hemp is derived from the same plant as marijuana but has a very low level of THC, the chemical that gets people high.

“I’m thinking of it as a bitter herb, and so I’m adding it in a small proportion in the sausage and it gives it that distinct kind of bitter flavor,” co-owner Brad Marshall said. “Then I’m offering that with sweeter spices in the sausage like nutmeg.”

Hemp has provided something unique for the customers of Piggery Farms.

“Whenever we use hemp as an ingredient, the customers are excited and thrilled and want to be supportive of it,” Sandford said.

Through November 22, New York is accepting applications from groups interested in growing and processing industrial hemp for research.

“It’s great for our climate; it’s a unique product that I think works really well on the farm lands,” Sandford said.

“It’s not a secret that agriculture is a tough way to make a living, so any new crops people can reasonably make a profit on are great,” Marshall said.

There are currently 20 groups participating in the program and growing industrial hemp in New York.

Learn more and apply

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