A new law will expand the state's Grown and Certified Program to include fiber-based textiles like wool, alpaca, cashmere, hemp and linen to receive a key seal of approval.
The measure, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is meant to build on a five-year-old program to raise the profile of farm products in New York and build out local supply chais in the state.
The program initially included items like maple syrup, cheese, yogurt, beer, Christmas trees and firewood. The bill signed into law by Cuomo in recent days expands the program to include animal and plant-based fiber products.
Lawmakers who backed the provision in the Legislature hope it will provide a boost for a developing market in the state, as well as grow the local-level businesses producing the material.
"This bill is part of a larger strategy to promote the state’s fiber industry through marketing and continuing development," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. "I am very glad this bill was signed into law so that fiber producers, including those producing hemp fiber, will have the opportunity to participate in New York’s Grown and Certified Program. It is an important step that I hope adds momentum to a new and exciting “farm to fashion” movement building in NYS."
The measure is also addressing a fast growing industry, part of an agritourism sector, as well as a component of county fairs in New York. Grown and Certified products are given showcase status at the Taste NY stores around the state, as well as at the state fairgrounds.
“New York’s textile manufacturers are eager to showcase their high-quality products, and consumers increasingly value the opportunity to purchase local products," said Sen. Rachel May. "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.”