Construction has begun at the nation’s only industrial hemp seed bank, funded in part with a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository at Cornell University in Geneva, New York will be the first hemp seed bank in the U.S. since hemp was added to the Controlled Substances Act.
The funding for the seed bank was secured by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) who said the repository would help breeders and geneticists develop new cultivars and identify hemp genes for improved pest and disease resistance. Schumer was one of the sponsors of the 2018 Farm Bill which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
“When it comes to kicking Upstate New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry into an even higher gear, the Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository is just what the doctor ordered. Not only will this facility act as the United States’ only industrial hemp seed bank, but it will also allow the world-class agricultural scientists at Cornell to help boost industrial hemp entrepreneurship.” — Schumer, in a press release
Schumer suggested that the seed bank and the hemp industry would help boost the upstate New York economy. Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said the seed bank and “the research that it will allow” Cornell and USDA-ARS scientists “will be vital resources for New York state farmers.”
The Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository will be overseen by a curator charged with characterizing, maintaining, and distributing seeds.
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