Untapped New York Sugar Maples Could Knock Canada Out Of Top Syrup-Producer Spot

Legislative Column from Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I-Newport)
April 20, 2011

An astonishing study was recently released from Cornell University showing New York has the potential to push the United States over the top in maple syrup production, replacing the current top producer Ė Canada. As it is now, New York generates $12 million annually in maple products while only utilizing one percent of its available sugar maples.

Cornell University estimates that if New York takes advantage of the abundance of its natural maple resource, revenues could reach $80 million. This is welcome news in a time where everyone is looking to improve the economy and identify industries where New York could improve its competitive edge in an ever-expanding world economy.

Maple syrup and products have increased in popularity around the globe, while demand in the United States remains high. Annually, the United States has to import nearly four times the amount it produces to meet domestic consumption. New York maple farmers can help correct this imbalance and bring in much-needed dollars and jobs to the state.

Quebec, Canadaís leading maple-producing province, has far fewer maple trees than our very own state, but has surpassed New York, controlling 80 percent of the world market by tapping nearly 38 million more trees. Cornell found that the main reason the state hasnít met its full potential is due to the fact that 68 percent of maples are on private property.

At the federal level, the Maple Tap Act would designate $20 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for grants to states for the research and support of maple production. The grants would help property owners set up a maple production operation on their own land. Such legislation and investment in New York is welcomed and would be a wonderful boost to our agricultural industry.

Iíd like to see this legislation pass and be implemented as soon as possible, in time for the next maple tapping season in autumn. For now, I encourage everyone to visit and support their local sugar maple farm this spring.

As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding agriculture or any other issue, please donít hesitate to contact me at either my Johnstown office at (518) 762-6486, or my Herkimer office at (315) 866-1632.