03.31.15

FOLLOWING KICK-OFF OF MAPLE TAPPING SEASON, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES PUSH FOR FED FUNDS TO SUPPORT AND ENHANCE THE GROWTH OF THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF NYS MAPLE SYRUP INDUSTRY

Schumer Pushes For $5 Million For Fed Program That Will Help Increase Production, Strengthen Conservation And Drive Efficiency In Maple Sugaring – Would Be Big Win For NYS Maple Producers 

U.S. Maple Production Has Nearly Doubled In The Last Decade Thanks To Recent Innovations In Vacuum Tubing, Sanitation Practices, & Better Taps – Schumer Push For Fed Funding Could Lead To Even More Growth Here in NY 

Schumer: We Must Invest In Maple To Continue Growing This Great NYS Industry 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged federal appropriators to provide $5 million in federal funding to enhance the growth of the maple syrup industry across New York State and the nation. Schumer said this dedicated federal funding stream would provide key funding for the Acer Access Development Program, which supports research and development within the industry. Specifically, the Acer program would provide the opportunity for further investment and research in this important crop so that producers throughout New York and across the U.S. can increase production, strengthen conservation, and help drive efficiency in maple sugaring. Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country, and Schumer said this funding would allow U.S. producers like those across New York State to better compete in the global marketplace.

“By tapping into New York’s maple industry and allowing it to expand, the potential to grow our state’s economy and provide income to hardworking Upstaters is truly astounding. One way we can further ensure New York producers continue to grow is to open up a federal funding stream for them and producers around the country,” said Schumer. “That is why I am urging federal appropriators to provide $5 million in funds that would be used exclusively on research to increase production, strengthen conservation, and help drive efficiency for the maple industry. We need to use every tool at our disposal to support maple production and the economic benefit it brings New York State.”

Maple syrup is an important agricultural product across 10 states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. According to the USDA, in 2013, the United States produced more than 3.2 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $75-$100 million. Maple is also a critical conservation crop, which helps to keep our forests in production, conserves important lands, protects water quality, and provides a valuable economic benefit to rural communities. The maple industry has seen significant growth in recent years. New York State ranks second in the nation for maple production, behind Vermont, with 564,000 gallons produced, valued at $12.3 million. Schumer said that this $5 million in federal funding through the Acer program could greatly help New York State’s efforts to strengthen maple production through investment in research, sustainability and increased production.

Across New York State, there are over 280 million maple trees with syrup-tapping potential, with local upstate farmers relying on it as a lucrative pocket in the agriculture industry. If provided the $5 million in appropriated funds, the Acer Access and Development Program will greatly help these efforts by allowing for further investment in research, sustainability and increased production to allow U.S. producers, including those across New York. U.S. production has nearly doubled in the last decade, thanks to recent innovations in vacuum tubing, sanitation practices, and better taps, and this funding could better help New Yorkers compete in the global marketplace for maple syrup.

Maple production in the US peaked in the 1800s, steadily declined throughout the 20th century, and is experiencing a rebirth in the 21st century. Maple syrup is a luxury item that is now consumed throughout the world, yet the greatest market for syrup is still the United States. The U.S. currently imports almost four times as much syrup as it produces, and Schumer said that there is a tremendous opportunity for American producers to expand production and fill domestic markets with local syrup by utilizing this research and development funding.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appears below:

Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Merkley: 

We write to ask your support for a new agricultural program that was authorized under the Agricultural Act of 2014.  The Acer Access and Development Program was included in the Farm Bill to support and enhance the growth of the maple syrup industry.  To ensure that this new program is successful, we respectfully request no less than $5 million, far below the authorized level, for the Acer Access and Development Program in the FY2016 agriculture appropriations bill.

Maple syrup is an important agricultural product across 10 states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.  According to the USDA, in 2013, the United States produced more than 3.2 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $75-$100 million.   Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country.  Some are full time producers, while others are tapping trees to help supplement their income.  Maple is also a critical conservation crop, which helps to keep our forests in production, conserves important lands, protects water quality, and provides a valuable economic benefit to rural communities. The maple industry has shown significant growth in recent years.  U.S. production has nearly doubled in the last decade thanks to recent innovations in vacuum tubing, sanitation practices, and better taps.  The new Acer program will provide the opportunity for further investment and research in this important crop can increase production, strengthen conservation and help drive efficiency in maple sugaring. 

We are pleased that these new technologies are helping the United States to compete as global demand for maple syrup continues to rise.  Competition to meet these markets is being hard fought between the U.S. and Canadian industries.  While Canada is supplying 80 percent of the worldwide maple syrup market, increased production and efficiency in the U.S. is allowing domestic producers to gain ground.  If provided appropriated funds, the Acer Access and Development Program will greatly help these efforts and allow for further investment in research, sustainability and increased production to allow U.S. producers to further compete in the global marketplace. 

We understand that in the current fiscal climate budgets are constrained, which is why we are asking the Committee to fund this program at only one quarter of its authorized amount.  We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to working with you to support this important domestic agricultural product.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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