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New York Opens up to Hemp, Offering Grants

Cuomo Germinates $5 Million Grant Fund for Hemp Cultivation


Do you live in New York State, have a green thumb, and an interest in cultivating industrial hemp? If so, Gov. Cuomo, in conjunction with Empire State Development, has just rolled out a ‘multi-year’ cultivation grant that will help qualifying growers, businesses, and universities plant the seeds of eco-friendly prosperity.


Dispensed and managed by the New York Empire State Development, the hemp cultivation grants are anticipated to help offset the capital requirements of processing industrial hemp.

Applicants who meet the necessary qualifications can receive grants of up to $500,000 from the New York State Industrial Hemp Processors Grant Fund.

Legally grown in 31 states as of September 2016, the U.S. utilized approximately 16,417 acres for the cultivation of industrial hemp last year — up 144 percent from 6,712 registered acres of hemp cultivation in 2015. A 2017 report on ‘Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity’ indicated the total U.S. retail sales of hemp products hit nearly $600 million domestically in 2015.

The governor, interested in sparking further economic opportunity on the family farm and in New York’s rural communities, signed legislation in July to help develop the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Now available to the general public, applicants can access the required forms and apply through November 22. Interested individuals can submit their completed application form along with a non-refundable $500 application fee to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

New York Hemp Program Application Requirements:

  • Affidavit completed
  • Detailed hemp research plan
  • Marketing plan, including a letter of intent from any prospective buyer or processor
  • Seed/propagule acquisition plan
  • Evidence of relevant experience of the individual responsible for the research project
  • $500 application fee
  • Compliance with prior years’ program reporting requirements, if applicable

Gov. Cuomo, committed to making New York State a global leader in industrial hemp production, expanded the program to include private individuals when he signed the July legislation. No longer a prohibited crop for New York’s qualifying farmers, there are now more than 20 partners participating and growing industrial hemp on approximately 2,000 acres in New York.

Per Empire State Development’s Fact Sheet:

“The research grants support the study of the agronomic characteristics of industrial hemp, which will be grown by New York farms serving as research partners. The research partners will receive $400 per acre less the cost of seed, which will be provided by Cornell. These funds will offset the costs of planting and harvesting as well as the indirect costs of complying with Cornell’s protocols and reporting requirements.”

The program not only expands industrial hemp cultivation in the Empire State but the law also amended an existing statute to guarantee parity between industrial hemp and other agricultural products.

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