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EASTON — Experts on growing and marketing industrial hemp will be at the Washington County Fairgrounds offices from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the crop and new state regulations encouraging its growth.

The meeting is being organized by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County will be hosting an informational session for farmers interested in learning about the crop.

“I think this is a great opportunity for farmers to learn about growing hemp,” said Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff, who has been one of the biggest advocates of bringing the crop to the county.

Cornell University Professor Larry Smart, state Department of Agriculture and Markets policy analyst Tim Sweeney and Sunstrand LLC’s Trey Riddle will discuss the science of growing hemp, the state’s hemp pilot program, the approval process for becoming a hemp grower/producer, and markets for hemp distribution.

Smart will discuss growing hemp and what has been learned from growing trials in the state. Sweeney will talk about the approval process for growing hemp, and Riddle will discuss potential markets for hemp.

“Farmers across Washington and Saratoga counties have long understood hemp’s potential to become a cash crop, and I am pleased that we in the Legislature have been able to support this important industry,” Woerner said in a press release.

Earlier this year, the state’s industrial hemp pilot program was expanded to include farmers and businesses.

Through Nov. 22, the state Ag Department is soliciting farmers, businesses, and research institutions interested in growing and processing industrial hemp as part of the pilot program.

The state will also make $5 million available in grants for machinery and equipment needed to process industrial hemp.

RSVPs are not required but are appreciated and may be made to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County at 518-746-2560 or washington@cornell.edu.

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You can read Bill Toscano’s blog at poststar.com/blogs or his updates on Twitter, @billtoscano_ps.

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