Standing at Old Mud Creek Farm LLC in Hudson, Columbia County, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced his support for the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Schumer said the bill could help unlock hemp’s full potential as an agricultural commodity in Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties, and across Upstate New York, by removing it from a federal list of controlled substances. Farms such as old Mud Creek Farm LLC, have partnered with affiliated growers and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets to understand the best agricultural practices and market potential for various types of industrial hemp. These farms and the State of New York would benefit greatly from his legislation and would be able to greatly enhance their production and research efforts.
Schumer said the Capital Region and communities across Upstate New York are on the verge of a hemp explosion, with hundreds of acres of hemp already authorized to be grown in the region for research purposes. Moreover, Schumer said the passage of the bill would allow for farmers in Columbia County and areas throughout the New York State to produce hemp for commercial purposes ultimately helping to create a new cash crop for our farms, and create opportunities for job growth, potentially producing millions of dollars in economic growth. By officially cosponsoring the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, Schumer has signaled an important partnership with his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the Senate Majority Leader, who is the primary sponsor of the bill.
“The federal government made a mistake when they labeled hemp as a controlled substance, putting it on par with dangerous substances like heroin. In reality, industrial hemp is an oyster with a pearl of opportunities that could mean millions in economic revenue while also helping to support new local jobs in Columbia, Greene, and Rensselaer counties,” said Senator Schumer. “Industrial Hemp can be used to make everything from paper, to clothing, to plastics which is why it so important we fix this outdated law as soon as possible so farms, businesses, and partnerships, such as that between Old Mud Creek Farm LLC, it’s affiliated research partner farms and New York State can grow expand, and research the benefits of hemp without the onerous and outdated restrictions from the federal government.”
Schumer urged his colleagues in both the House and the Senate to pass this legislation as soon as possible. Furthermore, he said that industrial hemp has the potential to become a growing industry for our struggling New York farms, and must have the full backing of the federal government – without any interference. New York State has authorized Columbia County, to grow more than 91 acres of Hemp, with Rensselaer County authorized to grow 30 acres. The Schumer-backed Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and does the following:
- Removes industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act
- Empowers states to be the principal regulators of hemp
- Allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Finally, it would make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance
Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is grown largely for industrial uses, but it can also be utilized for food, oil, and cosmetic products. Hemp contains a very small amount, typically between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while from the same species of plant as marijuana, it has varied widely in use. However, due to the existence of THC in hemp, Schumer explained, both plants are considered “controlled substances” under the current federal law, meaning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the current primary regulator for hemp production. Schumer said this narrow view has undermined the crop’s agricultural and economic potential and he vowed to work with his colleagues in both the Senate and the House to pass this groundbreaking legislation which is solely focused on investing in industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.
Schumer continued: “Labeling hemp as a controlled substance is preventing industrial hemp from being a real game-changer for counties from Columbia County to Louisville, Kentucky. Which is exactly why I am proud to support this bill and bring hemp into the forefront as an agricultural commodity for producers here at the Old Mud Creek Farm LLC and all over the Capital Region. I will work in lockstep with Senators McConnell and Wyden to make sure this bill passes the Senate and becomes law.”
Schumer said the crop has massive economic potential for Columbia County, the Upper Hudson Valley and beyond. According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States is one of the largest importers of Hemp products, with annual sales that are expected to exceed $1 billion due to the rapid rise of hemp extracts, such as CBD, in personal care products and dietary supplements, and most of it coming from Canada. Schumer said the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 could pay big dividends to farmers in Columbia County and throughout the Capital Region, who like Old Mud Creek Farm LLC and other Columbia County farms, see hemp’s potential to create jobs, build new supply chains and lead to new innovations.
Schumer was joined by Ben Dobson, Old Mud Creek Farm LLC.
“I feel the rebirth of industrial hemp is the most exciting and hopeful aspect of agriculture in the United States at this time. Hemp has thousands of known uses and just now the medical and dietary potential of the plant is being uncovered. In a time of great change and struggle in agriculture, hemp is a beacon of hope. Not only is it a superfood, but it has the potential to change the way we make paper, textiles, concrete, nanofibers, medical products, and more. The New York State hemp research program has allowed us the opportunity to begin to research and understand the great potential of this plant. This bill put forth by Senator Schumer and his co-sponsors will allow this research to develop the building blocks of new industries across this nation. We thank Mr. Schumer for his efforts and look forward to a positive outcome,” said Ben Dobson, Old Mud Creek Farm.
Old Mud Creek Farm LLC and its sister operation Stone House Grain LLC comprise the largest tract of organic farmland in the Hudson Valley. With a focus on innovation, land regeneration, and providing the regions farmers and food business with key organic inputs such as grain, forages, and grass-fed beef, the farms have fully embraced hemp as the crop of the future. It has the potential to be the building block of an entirely new agricultural economy in the region and across the country.