SUGARING


Maple Producers’ Efforts Backed by State Funds



The New York State Maple Producers Association appreciates the show of confidence from lawmakers who have continued support for the maple industry in the 2009-10 state budget.

The $131.8 billion budget passed by the Senate and Assembly on April 3 includes $150,000 for NYSMPA programs. That is the same support given in the 2008-09 budget.

“We’re delighted to get it, considering the way the budget situation is in Albany,” NYSMPA President Dave Campbell said. “Legislators clearly see the potential for increased production and marketing for New York State maple syrup.”

Both Campbell and NYSMPA Executive Director Mary Jeanne Packer said the state support affirms the Association’s efforts to promote the industry.

“They are pleased with what we’ve accomplished with promotions money. They see there’s still potential, and they’re willing to put up the money,” Campbell said.

Packer also pointed to state support in the creation of the Maple Task Force, officially announced by Ag & Markets on March 25. Additionally, almost every newspaper in the state offered some type of coverage of maple season and Maple Weekend events.

“It’s in people’s minds now that New York really is a maple producing state,” Packer said.

Campbell said interest from New York City schools in the Vernon Verona Sherrill Central School FFA mobile maple exhibit continues to increase. State funds could be used to help meet that demand, he said.

The fall promotion with the state’s apple growers was very successful, and it’s a program Packer and Campbell want to see grow. One of the program’s components was recipe cards, which were a big hit at apple orchards as well as at the NYSMPA Maple Center at the NYS Fair and at members’ sugarhouses and sales areas.

The thousands of recipe cards printed are all gone now, and Campbell said state money could be used to renew the effort while developing more ways to get them into the hands of consumers.

Outreach to producers should continue, Packer also said, mentioning a campaign launched this winter in partnership with the Cornell Maple Program and CCE that encourage producers to talk to their neighbors about leasing trees or collecting and selling sap.

Meeting with lawmakers and answering their questions about the maple industry are key components to the Association’s success in getting the state support restored. Packer recalled that participation by association members in Maple Lobby Day in February was the highest ever. “It was really a huge team effort,” she said.

“All of our trips to Albany have paid off,” said Campbell.

For more information, contact New York State Maple Producers Association, Inc. at P.O. Box 210, Watkins Glen, NY 14891; or visit www.nysmaple.com.