New York State is doing its part to protect the domestic textile industry.
On Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation to support the state’s textile manufacturing industry through economic development programs that include expanding annual farm recognition awards, training for small businesses and a 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,” 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.”
The legislation, named the New York Textile Act, will help connect farmers who produce plant or animal fibers including hemp, sheep, goat, alpaca and other sources with textile producers.
Specifically, the act 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.
It also establishes an annual award that will recognize unusual efforts by farmers, fiber processors, textile manufacturers and retailers for textiles manufactured in New York State from animal or plant fiber grown or produced predominantly there.
The act will also promote and provide marketing support for the expansion of the local animal or plant fiber production industry, as well as fiber processing and textile manufacturing.
As part of the New York Textile Act, the state will also create a Natural Fiber Textile Workgroup, chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets that will increase the economic contributions and employment opportunities related to animal and plant fiber agriculture and textile manufacturing in New York; increase private investment in New York state-produced and processed natural fibers for apparel and other products, and increase the export opportunities for New York-produced natural fibers.
“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,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.
State Sen. Michelle Hinchey added, “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.”
Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, a cosponsor of the bill, said New York had historically been a leading textile-producing state and the new law will help existing programs, such as the Hudson Valley Textile Project, which is already working to rebuild the state’s textile industry.
New York is the headquarters for more than 900 fashion companies and during New York Fashion Week last month, Hochul announced that $10 million in state funding would be earmarked for the Fashion Innovation Center, which will promote the utilization of New York State-produced textiles and provide grant funding to small businesses in the fashion industry.