Local maple producers appointed to address opportunities

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced the formation and members of the Maple Task Force. The Task Force will be charged with examining the needs of the maple industry and identifying any programmatic and regulatory measures necessary in order to enhance the vitality of New York State's maple industry.

"New York State is one of the world's largest producers of maple products," Deputy Commissioner Jackie Moody-Czub said. "Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Whether it is regulatory reform, promotional efforts or developmental programs, this Department is committed to helping this industry grow. I look forward to the discussion amongst the members of this Task Force and learning what the Department can do to help New York's maple industry."

David Campbell of Mapleland Farms in Salem (Washington County), who also serves as the President of the New York State Maple Producers Association, will chair the Task Force. There will also be twelve other members of New York's maple industry, which includes Keith Schiebel of the Vernon Verona Sherrill FFA Chapter in Verona

Campbell said, "New York's maple industry has excellent potential for growth. I see the creation of the New York Maple Task Force as a great opportunity for moving our industry forward by addressing challenges that are currently limiting our growth potential and growing brand awareness of the quality and authenticity of maple syrup produced in New York State."

Other issues of interest to the maple industry in New York include invasive species that threaten the health of the State's maple trees, gaining access to state-owned forest lands for expanded tree tapping opportunities, and developing programs to enhance energy efficiency technology for sugar houses. The Task Force plans to meet in May.

New York, the second largest maple producing state in the nation, is currently in the middle of its maple syrup season. With 1.5 million taps, New York producers made 322,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2008, up 44 percent from the year prior. The value of New York maple syrup produced in 2007 was $7.5 million with an average price of $33.50 per gallon.

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