The 2018 Federal Farm Bill (Farm Bill) significantly changed federal regulation of the growing of hemp in the United States. In the Farm Bill, hemp was removed from the Federal list of controlled substances. The bill defines hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Total Potential Delta 9-THC = Delta 9-THC +(Delta 9-THCa x (0.877)).

As a result, New York State’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program has been replaced with a new program approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as provided for in the Farm Bill and related regulations.

The new plan, which can be found on the USDA's website, includes new guidelines for growers, including sampling and testing requirements.  In addition, all sampling agents must complete an FBI Identity History Summary Check.

The FBI Identity History Summary Check must be submitted with the application for a sampling agent certification and must have been performed no more than 60 days prior to submitting the sampling agent application.

Find out more in the guidance document below.


Application Process

Those seeking to become a private hemp sampler must apply for a Hemp Samplers Certification from the Department. The steps to apply are as follows.

  1. Submit a completed application and complete a FBI Identity History Summary Check. There is not a fee for this application.
    The application document is a fillable pdf, but it and all accompanying documents must be printed and mailed to the Department in hardcopy.
  2. The Department will review the complete application to ensure it complies with all program requirements.
  3. Once the Department’s review is complete, the applicant will be notified of the outcome.
  4. The applicant will be scheduled to complete the required Hemp Sampling Agent training and take the Sampling Agent exam.
  5. If the applicant passes the exam, a New York State Sampling Agent Certification will be mailed to the applicant. The certification is good for one year.

An applicant is not authorized to sample hemp for Department compliance until it has received a New York State Sampling Agent Certification from the Department.

Required Information

Each application must include:

  • the applicant’s name, address, phone number, and email address,
  • a list of the NYS counties to cover as a private hemp sampler, and
  • an FBI Identify History Summary Check dated no more than 60 days prior to the date of application.

Disqualifying factors may include but are not limited to:

  • having an active hemp license in any state,
  • being a current employee of a hemp growing facility in any state,
  • having a financial stake in a hemp growing operation in any state,
  • being a nuclear or extended family member of a hemp licensee,
  • being a hemp broker, distributor, or processor,
  • soliciting hemp for sale, processing, or distribution or being an employee of an entity that is soliciting, producing, processing, or distributing hemp, and/or
  • having a drug-related felony conviction within the past 10 years in any state.

File an Amendment Form

Sampling agents must submit requests to amend their original application by submitting an amendment application to the Department for review. Common amendment changes include adding or removing counties to cover, changing public information preferences, and/or updating contact information.

Submit a Report

All hemp sampling agents certified under the New York State Hemp Licensing Program must submit the reports listed in this document by the specified deadlines.

Contact the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

Contact us by phone:

Office: (877) 249-6841

Contact us by email:

Mailing Address:

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
Division of Plant Industry
10B Airline Drive
Albany, New York 12235