Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

The Nation’s First Hemp Seed Bank Will Be in New York

Food
The Nation’s First Hemp Seed Bank Will Be in New York
R.Tsubin / Moment / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

With industrial hemp becoming federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, research has had to work hard to catch up after decades of prohibition.


A vital part of creating a thorough picture of any crop is research institutions. Industrial hemp, not having been federally legal, had only scattered, minor ones — labs with special exemptions, that kind of thing. This week, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer announced $500,000 in federal funding for a major hemp research facility: the country's first hemp seed bank.

Seed banks are a vital part of modern agriculture. They are, at their core, repositories of as many of the different varieties and strains of plants as can be found — libraries, of sorts. But they're not mere hoarder stashes. Seed banks are essential resources for research. Without a properly stored and annotated selection of seeds, breeding becomes unpredictable and random. If a farmer or lab wants to create a plant with specific abilities (say, drought resistance, or tolerance of salty soil, or extra-large leaves), seed banks provide the raw material, with data explaining the origins and specifics of each seed.

Industrial hemp is fairly easy to grow, but in large part, it hasn't been grown in large enough quantities in the U.S. for farmers to know all that much about it. How does it react to certain pests? Certain pesticides? How does it grow with other crops?

It's also worth noting that industrial hemp is seen as a savior for many farmers, a wonder-crop. It grows in many different environments—Schumer wants to create an industry in chilly upstate New York, and rocky Appalachian Kentucky is already one of the bigger producers — and yet could command huge prices. CBD, a controversial extract about which little is known but much is claimed, is mostly isolated from industrial hemp. And CBD is a billion-dollar industry, and growing fast.

The seed bank will, at least in Schumer's hopes, establish New York as a center of industrial hemp research. It'll be a collaboration between the USDA's research arm and Cornell University, and located in Geneva, New York.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

People Have the Power - VOTE 2020

Climate-action nonprofit Pathway to Paris first launched in 2014 with an "intimate evening" of music and conversation after the People's Climate March in New York City.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. sarote pruksachat / Moment / Getty Images

A national park in Thailand has come up with an innovative way to make sure guests clean up their own trash: mail it back to them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2020 presidential election poses a critical test of climate conservatives' willingness to put their environmental concerns before party politics. filo / Getty Images

By Ilana Cohen

Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.

But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.

Read More Show Less
Headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva amid the COVID-19 outbreak on Aug. 17, 2020. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Read More Show Less
Exterior of Cold Tube demonstration pavilion. Lea Ruefenacht

By Gloria Oladipo

In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch