New York's Gov. Hochul signs New York Textile Act to strengthen state's manufacturing; act creates workgroup to increase private investment in, use of New York-produced natural fibers for all sectors, including apparel, health care, home, industrial use

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ALBANY, New York , October 17, 2022 (press release) –

Legislation (S.8741A/A.9649A) Expands State Capabilities To Support Animal and Plant Fiber Growing, Processing, and Textile Manufacturing

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.8741A/A.9649A) to support New York's textile manufacturing industry through economic development programs. These programs include expanding annual farm recognition awards, state procurement process training for small businesses, and the Excelsior Jobs program for related New York products and processes.

"We are spooling together strong investments in textiles grown and manufactured in New York, helping ensure our businesses remain strong and innovative," Governor Hochul said. "I am proud to sign this legislation, which will support New York farmers and lay the foundation for expanding the burgeoning textile industries that call this state home, helping spur economic growth for decades to come."

Legislation (S.8741A/A.9649A), named the New York Textile Act, will help connect farmers who produce plant or animal fibers with the textile industry in ways that support innovation, sustainable development, and new marketing opportunities for plant and animal fibers that are grown in New York. By leaning into the local demand for textiles, New York grown fiber from hemp, sheep, goats, alpaca and other sources will create new opportunities for farms and textile producers.

The Act specifically:

  • Establishes discretionary purchase limits for public agencies to purchase animal or plant fiber products or textile products manufactured from animal or plant fiber grown or produced predominantly in New York State;
  • Establishes an annual New York animal or plant fiber and textile award given in recognition of unusual efforts by farmers, fiber processors, and textile manufacturers and retailers for textiles manufactured in New York State from animal or plant fiber grown or produced predominantly in New York State;
  • Amends the economic development law to enhance existing provisions with the purpose of for promoting the expansion of the animal or plant fiber production industry, as well as fiber processing and textile manufacturing;
  • Builds on New York's existing Grown and Certified program, to provide marketing support for the production and sale of textile products manufactured in New York State from animal or plant fiber grown or produced predominantly in New York State;
  • Provides authorization for the department of economic development to advise regarding the research and development of animal and plant fiber and fiber textile manufacturing industries and applied research; and,
  • Creates a Natural Fiber Textile Workgroup, chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets to (a)increase the economic contributions and employment opportunities related to animal and plant fiber agriculture and textile manufacturing in New York state; (b)increase private investment in, and utilization of, New York state produced and processed natural fibers in all categories of textile; manufacturing including apparel, home textile products, industrial textiles, and health care products; (c) improve public understanding of and appreciation for natural fiber textiles; and (d) increase export and market opportunities for New York produced natural fiber textiles.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "We are proud to welcome our animal and plant fiber textile farmers to be participants of the New York State Grown & Certified program, which provides additional marketing and promotion opportunities for those who produce products to a higher standard and with an eye toward environmental sustainability. Locally produced textiles, and the farmers that make them, are an important part of New York agriculture, and we look forward to supporting our producers as they grow their businesses, which will, in turn, provide a boost to the State economy and our local communities."

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "We created the New York Textile Act to make New York an economic and climate-fighting superpower in farm-grown textiles, and its signing today is a massive win that incentivizes this burgeoning manufacturing sector to soar. Kickstarted by our legislation, the fabrics of the future will be grown on New York farms with small business incentives to support a statewide manufacturing ecosystem. New York will lead innovation in the fabric space, and I thank my fellow bill sponsor, Assemblymember Carrier Woerner, for her partnership on this industry-generating legislation and Governor Hochul for signing it."

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, "Historically, New York was a leading textile producing state. This law recognizes the positive economic and environmental impacts and the limitless potential of the animal and plant fiber textile industry in our state. The new law will support and expand all aspects of turning animal and plant fiber into quality textiles and will help existing programs like the Hudson Valley Textile Project that is already rebuilding New York's textile industry. From tax credits and inclusion in the marketing of state products, to training that can lead to state procurement contracts this bill recognizes the potential of a strong and comprehensive textile manufacturing industry in this state. I am especially excited about establishing an annual award in recognition of unusual efforts by those in any aspect of plant or animal fiber textile manufacturing. New Yorkers embrace challenges and I know we will see fantastic innovations with this incentive."

New York is the fashion capital of the world, with over 900 fashion companies headquartered in the Empire State. New York was historically a leading textile-producing state, and modern programs such as the Hudson Valley Textile Project have worked to strengthen New York's textile industry once more. This bill will continue that initiative, working to expand New York's textile production capabilities.

Sustainable textiles are the future of fashion, and New York State is poised to lead the way in the ecologically responsible production of these materials. Smart textiles are a cutting-edge industry that have applications for countless professions, from athletes to first responders and medical professionals.

The Governor previously announced $10 million in State funding for the Fashion Innovation Center (FIC), which will promote a collaborative approach to utilizing New York State-produced smart and sustainable textiles. The FIC will solicit, evaluate, and oversee projects focused on addressing industry challenges and opportunities, with priority given to those involving the use of New York State crops and material inputs, and cultivating technology that accelerates sustainability in the fashion and textile industry. Through a competitive process, the FIC will provide grant funding to New York State small businesses in the fashion industry, offering a critical connection between industry leaders and innovation and supporting projects that aim to improve industry sustainability.

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