Legislation to Expand the State’s Grown and Certified Program to Textile Products like Wool and Hemp

Update – Bill S.3396was passed by NYS Senate on March 4th, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26th, 2021

CONTACT

Jessica Bumpus – (315) 810-2109

bumpus@nysenate.gov

Senator May Announces Legislation to Expand the State’s Grown and

Certified Program to Textile Products like Wool and Hemp

Syracuse, NY - Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) has introduced

legislation to expand the state’s Grown and Certified Program to include fiber-based textile

manufacturers. The bill ( S.3396 ) would enable animal and plant-based fiber products, including

wool, alpaca, cashmere, hemp, and linen, to receive the state’s coveted seal of approval. The

bill was reported from the Agriculture Committee this week.

The New York Grown and Certified program was started by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016 to

raise the profile of New York farm products and encourage development of local supply chains.

Brand recognition of NY-based products has elevated markets for items ranging from maple

syrup to cheese, yogurt, beer, and even Christmas trees and firewood. Senator May believes

products made from wool, hemp and other local plant and animal fibers should also be made

eligible for the program.

“The nation saw last month how much attention Sen. Bernie Sanders garnered for his

Vermont-made mittens, and it is high time for New York to show similar support for our state’s

producers of homegrown clothing and other fiber products,” said Senator May. “New York’s

textile manufacturers are eager to showcase their high-quality products in the Grown and

Certified Program, and consumers increasingly value the opportunity to purchase local

products. The boom in industrial hemp and the growing interest in sheep and alpaca farming are

trends we should reward and encourage, and the hope is that this new opportunity will also

enhance connections between New York growers, processors, and producers of finished items.

As an avid knitter and amateur fiber artist myself, I can’t wait to see our own prominent citizens

sporting New York Grown and Certified fashions.”

“New York is uniquely positioned as one of only two states in the country where it is possible to

build a full scale and commercially viable farm-to-fabric supply chain,” said Mary Jeanne

Packer, founder of Battenkill Fibers Carding & Spinning Mill in Greenwich, NY, and

Secretary of the Empire Sheep Producers Association. ”New York State is a perfect

example of the ‘Fibershed concept.’ New York has farms for sheep, alpacas, hemp and other

fiber/materials. New York has the primary processing mills including my business Battenkill

Fibers Carding and Spinning Mill in Greenwich, NY. New York has the designers and makers in

New York City fashion houses, start-up design incubators, and other value-added facilities from

Binghamton to Queens and back to Schenectady. Coming together across the supply chain to

support a New York State brand for fiber products makes tremendous sense.”

New York also has markets for the products at all stages of development, including the largest

annual sheep and wool festival in the United States, held at Dutchess County Fairgrounds every

October. New York Grown and Certified products are showcased at the many Taste NY

boutiques around the state and at the New York State Fair, as well as getting promotion and

exposure from the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

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Last updated March 30, 2021