The air is feeling cooler, the leaves are turning colors and football is consuming our attention every weekend. That’s right – it’s finally fall, which means maple syrup season is ramping up.

In preparation for a busy production season, the best places to learn more about your business is to gather with your peers at two upcoming conferences: the International Maple Conference and Tradeshow from Oct. 26-28 in Burlington, Vermont, and the Lake Erie Maple Expo from Nov. 11-12 in Albion, Pennsylvania.

International Maple Conference and Tradeshow

The International Maple Conference and Tradeshow is hosted by the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) and the North American Maple Syrup Council (NAMSC), brings together experts from throughout the industry, including maple producers and processors, equipment manufacturers and researchers. While seminars and workshops will be held Oct. 26-28, there are also tours of maple producers in the area for attendees on Oct. 29.

Here are a few highlights of the scheduled events:

Oct. 26:

  • IMSI board of directors meeting 8:15 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • NAMSC committee meetings 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Tradeshow opens noon-7 p.m.
  • NAMSC board of directors meeting 3:15-5 p.m.
  • Maple extension specialists meeting 4-6 p.m.

Oct. 27:

  • Tradeshow opens 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Companion tour 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • NAMSC opening session 9 a.m.-noon
  • IMSI annual meeting 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Technical sessions/research presentations 3-5 p.m.

Oct. 28:

  • Tradeshow opens 8-10:30 a.m.
  • NAMSC closing session 8-10 a.m.
  • Technical sessions 10:30 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m.

Lake Erie Maple Expo

The Lake Erie Maple Expo has a number of co-sponsors, including the Northwest Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers Association, the Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers Council, the Ohio Maple Producers Association, the Western New York State Maple Producers and the Albion Future Farmers of America. More than 500 people attended the expo in 2015, and this year seven workshops will include presentations from industry leaders and university researchers.

Speakers attending the expo include: Dr. Tim Perkins of the Cornell University Maple Program, Steve Childs and Dr. Michael Farrell from the University of Maine, and Kathy Hopkins and Les Ober from The Ohio State University. Glenn and Ruth Goodrich from Goodrich Maple Farm in Cabot, Vermont will also speak this year, and the latest technology developments will be presented by factory experts, according to the expo’s website.

Attendees from the Lake Erie Maple Expo gather for a demonstration.

Photo by Gary Bilek

Here is a summary of this year’s workshops:

  • 5/16 maple tubing installation featuring CDL tubing install experts
  • Maple confections and value-added maple products with James Miller and Marge and Bill Phillips
  • Maple workshop for beginners with Laura Dengler and Mark Lewis
  • RO’s for the small producer with New York maple specialist Stephen Childs
  • Installing and managing 3/16 Tubing with Vermont maple producer Glen Goodrich
  • Selected topics from the New England Maple Grading School with University of Maine maple specialist Kathryn Hopkins
  • “Evaluating Your Sugarbush for Production, Health, Thinning and Potential for Taps” with Dr. Peter Smallidge, Cornell University extension forester