Pouring on the support for maple syrup production

Senator Welch taps New England lawmakers for votes on the MAPLE SYRUP Act
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 12:05 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Who doesn’t love maple? and maple syrup on pancakes or waffles? That’s the rhetorical question of Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.). Maple syrup bottles are tucked in every corner of Welch’s Capitol Hill office.

He and fellow New England lawmakers say maple syrup is an essential ingredient for a strong economy, insisting, American breakfast lovers should, “get your Vermont maple syrup. You can’t beat it.”

Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in America. “We are really proud of our maple syrup but it’s also a very important part of our economy.”

Welch has teamed up with Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire lawmakers. They’re pouring pressure on Congress to reauthorize the “Market Access, Promotion, and Landowner Education Support for Your Regionally Underserved Producers Act” as part of the 2023 Farm Bill.

If approved, it boost funding for the MAPLE SYRUP ACT to 30 million dollars. Welch says that cash can make a difference, “there are real challenges, you know with climate change it’s getting tougher. So these acts are actually quite important to do research, to do education, and to do market promotion.”

The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association agrees. Marketing and education are needed to save maple trees and to help producers combat higher operating and land costs. The group says funding for research may be the biggest ingredient in keeping syrup on plates.

Allison Hope is the Executive Director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association. “The research that gets to efficiency, keeping tree health in mind. We’re not like other farmers where we can just grow a new crop in the next year. It takes a good 40-50 years to grow a great maple tree and so when you lose one you can’t automatically grow it.”

The US Department of Agriculture reports Vermont experienced a 20-percent drop in maple syrup production this year. The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association attributes that decline to weather and a slightly lower number of taps in 2022. However, price per gallon of maple syrup was up. They typical maple syrup season runs from late winter to early spring.