Strengthening New York’s maple industry through
continued and expanded promotion and by increasing jobs in maple production
are top priorities in 2009 for the New York State Maple Producers
“We need to keep New York maple in front of
consumers,” NYSMPA President David Campbell said.
New York was second nationwide in maple syrup
production in 2008. Production estimated by the USDA National Agricultural
Statistics Service was 322,000 gallons, up 44 percent from the year before.
Campbell said the association’s ongoing
promotions program will feature cooperation with Cornell University’s
Maple Program. The association will continue to support Cornell’s
research and technical assistance to maple producers by helping to seek
state funding for Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Uihlein Maple Research
Center and the Arnot Research Forest, according to the NYSMPA 2009 plan for
|Maple recipes led the list of hits and
downloads on the association's Web
Job retention and expansion is a vitally important
issue for any industry right now, and New York’s maple industry is no
exception. In 2009, the association aims to create new upstate jobs by
establishing a system for recruiting, training and mentoring new maple
producers. Existing producers will be assisted with their production
Tree leasing for tapping is another key component to
expanding the industry, Campbell said. The association has already begun to
address this need by working with the Cornell Maple Program in writing and
designing a new publication for sugar makers to distribute to neighboring
forest owners, and by discussing the concept of leasing trees on state
forestland with legislators.
NYSMPA’s goal for 2009 is to work with the state
Department of Environmental Conservation to develop standards and
guidelines for maple producers to tap maple trees on forested lands owned by the state. In the 2009 sugaring season, the
association is looking for permits to be issued and monitored in at least
two pilot regions where there are tappable trees adjacent to existing
producer operations. Campbell said state lawmakers appear supportive of the
concept, and the association is hoping the legislature will direct the DEC
to develop standards and move ahead with the pilot projects.
Other issues that Campbell said needed to be kept in
front of state legislators and agency officials include:
The detection and
eradication of invasive species that could impact the state’s maple
trees, especially the Asian Long-horned Beetle. This must be a priority for
the USDA and New York State Department of Ag & Markets. In 2008, ALB
was found in western Massachusetts; the beetle has also been found in New York City and Chicago.
The adoption of changes in maple grading. The
association has given Ag & Markets recommendations for changes that
would reduce consumer confusion related to grade designations unique to New
York. The changes would also bring New York’s grading regulations
closer to those of nearby states. The association believes that the changes
would improve sales of pure maple syrup in the state.
The recognition of the energy efficiency
opportunities of reverse osmosis. NYSMPA would like to see the New York
State Energy Research and Development Authority accept the efficiencies and
offer matching funds for producers to upgrade their equipment for this
The resolution of an ongoing dispute about tax
exemption for pure maple sugar. In February 1967, the state Tax Department
determined that maple sugar is a pure food and not a candy, and unless it
is marketed as such, should be exempt from sales tax. A July 1998 Tax
Department publication showed maple sugar candy as taxable and maple sugar
as tax exempt. The association seeks to have this confusion resolved.
In 2008, NYSMPA promotional efforts included new
educational programs. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill
FFA students developed an awareness program and mobile maple exhibit that
they shared with school children in New York City. A retired teacher and
maple producer designed lesson plans that she also took into New York City
classrooms. The association and the state apple growers worked together on
a successful fall promotion; and maple recipes were the stars on television
cooking shows across the state leading up to Thanksgiving, and led the list
of hits and downloads on the association’s Web site www.nysmaple.com.
In 2009, NYSMPA looks to continue and expand these successful efforts.
The author writes on behalf of the New York State
Maple Producers Association.