Industrial Hemp Seed Bank Could Position New York State as Industry Leader

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Image: Lev Radin /

GENEVA, N.Y. Industrial hemp is continuing to build on its post farm bill momentum. The nation’s first legal hemp seed bank will be located at Cornell’s Agritech location in Geneva, New York, according to the University

The “Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository” will receive $500,000 in federal funding due to its potential to generate economic growth in New York’s upstate region. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had been working to secure the funds for his home state.


“I fought tooth and nail to secure this federal funding while also working to strip back the burdensome federal restrictions that held our farmers and growers back from growing industrial hemp as an agriculture commodity, because I knew the potential this crop had to transform the upstate New York economy,” Schumer said. 

Industrial hemp can be used for a wide variety of applications including food products, building materials, paper, cosmetics, and more. It is considered an eco-friendly alternative to many traditional materials. 

Researchers at the hemp seed bank will analyze new plant varieties while also identifying which strains are most pest and disease resistant. These types of studies have been difficult to conduct since the plant was heavily criminalized until recently. 

“The hemp seed bank and the research potential it gives our Cornell and USDA-ARS scientists will be vital resources for New York state farmers,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are grateful to Sen. Schumer for his hard work to secure this federal funding.”

Outside of its industrial applications, hemp also is growing in popularity because it is one of the main sources for CBD extraction. Unlike THC, another cannabinoid well-known for its psychedelic properties, CBD does not produce a buzz for users. CBD is being widely used by patients due to its medicinal potential. 

Although hemp has been used throughout history and is considered to be one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans, modern science still has catching up to do since the plant has largely been outlawed for the past century.