cover of "Industrial Hemp from Seed to Market"



With thousands of different finished goods deriving from industrial hemp, it is a growing commodity in states across the country. New York has an opportunity to be a lead in growth and production, both for the stalk and seed. Hemp products that have been trending include anything from healthy foods, organic body care, clothing, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites and more. This industry could be an opportunity for both farm operations and manufacturers.

Hemp (cannabis sativa) is used for fiber, oils, and medicinal reasons. There are specific types of cannabis which have low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, and those are classified as industrial hemp. THC is the principal intoxicating agent in marijuana. Industrial hemp has a rate of .3% THC or less. In New York State, these have been the focus of the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program.

In 2018, approximately 3,500 acres of New York farmland was approved for industrial hemp research. That was an increase of 1,500 acres from 2017. For comparison, there are approximately 400 acres of hops being grown across New York State. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is accepting applications on a rolling basis for future research partners in the areas of grain and fiber. Nationally, industrial hemp products generate nearly $600 million per year in sales, according to New York State Ag and Markets.

Applicable links:

Hemp Grower Applications:

List of Authorized Research Partners:

§Farm Bill Legalizing Hemp Passes Senate: WHEC News

§So You Want To Grow Hemp? Cornell Hemp on Science Friday

§SIPS Hemp YouTube playlist

Madison County Press about Hemp:

Beginning Hemp?  Here are some brochures with useful information:

Beginning Hemp - Keys to Successful Production

Hemp Contracts - Reducing Your Risk

Beginning Hemp - Rejection of the Crop

Legal Aspects

To learn about the industrial hemp program and permitting in New York State, go to:

For processing regulations (FDA 21CFR 101,111,201)look here:

Q&A on Cannabis products from FDA:

Excellent Production Resources:

Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance Hemp Production eGuide:

Purdue Hemp Project:

Ontario Min of Ag, Food and Rural Affairs:

Valley Bio – also a good source of seed:

Grain & Fiber Seed Sources:

Valley Bio in Cobden, Ontario:

Parkland Seeds in Dauphin, MB:

Hemp Genetics Intl in Saskatoon, SK:

Schiavi Seed in Lexington, KY:

International Hemp Solutions/Bija Seeds in Denver, CO:

Terramax in Qu’Appelle, SK:; distributed through Legacy Hemp:

CBD Genetics Sources:

Locating seed, transplants, or cuttings of CBD varieties is more complicated than seed for grain/fiber varieties.It is recommended to research variety preference from the potential customer, likely this is the processor contracted with for production.Typically, the processor will have a relationship with a breeder.Note that CBD production is most efficient/profitable if all of the plants are female and that to purchase seed, even feminized, seed runs the risk of male plants being present.Fully research the source of the CBD genetics.

Best Fertility Scenario for Successfully Growing Hemp on mineral soils:

  • pH around 6.5 for mineral soils.
  • Well drained loamy- loamy clay soils where CEC’s are 12-20. Avoid compacted soils and heavy clay high Mg/ Na soils. Cation exchange level of Mg should be under 20%
  • Good to very good OM as N is important to hemp.
  • P according to the Olsen test should be better than 15PPM & if the Mehlich 3 test is used then at 35 PPM (Dairy One uses modified Morgan)
  • K range 158 PPM to 235 PPM. Base saturation on cation exchange in the 2.5% - 4%
  • S is important. Range of availability should be 10N:1S.
  • If producing hemp on muck soils, contact your Extension Specialist to interpret the above recommendations.

Cannabis Testing Labs:

East Coast Labs

172 Taunton Avenue

East Providence, Rhode Island 02914

(401) 400-2709


420 Fortune Blvd.

Milford, MA 01757

Chris Hudalla

(617) 221-3356


85 Speen St.

Framingham, MA 01701


Michael Kahn

(508) 872-6666

CDX Analytics

39 Norman St.

Salem, MA 01907 Contact:

Brian Strasnick

(978) 619-2244

Different labs provide different services.It is recommended that you test your crop prior to NYS Ag & Markets testing.Research how results are reported/interpreted by each lab so as to be compliant with the law. To sample efficiently. research what other tests a processor may request prior to purchase.

Business & Marketing:

Cost of grain/fiber production information:

NYS Hemp Exchange for buying/selling:

Post your buy/sell ads at:

Programming Near You:

To find your local Cornell Cooperative Extension Specialist working on hemp, go to:

Last updated November 24, 2019