04.26.19

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE THEIR PUSH TO SECURE AT LEAST $5 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS TO SUPPORT MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCERS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

Maple Program is Critical to Local Economies and Conservation Efforts in Upstate New York

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today announced their push to secure no less than $5 million in federal funding for the Acer Access and Development Program and support the maple syrup industry. This program creates opportunities for investment and research for maple syrup, helps to increase maple production across Upstate New York, strengthens conservation efforts, and drives efficiency in maple sugaring. This year, the senators request at least $5 million to be included in the next appropriations bill for the Acer Access and Development Program, which is a $1 million increase from what was allocated last year.

New York State is the number two maple-producing state in the country, and maple syrup is an important agricultural product for Upstate New York and states across the Northeast and Midwest. Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country. In addition, maple is a critical conservation crop that helps keep forests in production, protects water quality, and helps keep soil usable for future farming. The requested funding will allow U.S. producers to better compete in the global marketplace with countries like Canada, which is responsible for 85 percent of the world’s maple product.

New York is in the midst of a maple explosion, so it is critical for the federal government to support this burgeoning industry through any means possible, to help Upstate producers keep pace with international competitors like Canada,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m calling on my colleagues in Congress to boost funding for the Acer Access and Development Program by at least $1 million, which would help provide Upstate producers with the resources needed to continue tapping into the crop’s massive potential and generating sweet results for our economy.”

“New York State is a proud leader in the country’s maple industry, and the Acer Access and Development Program provides critical resources for Upstate maple producers looking to expand their production, stay competitive with countries like Canada, and strengthen conservation efforts,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee. “I am proud to lead this year’s fight to secure more funding for this program in the upcoming appropriations bill, and help our state’s producers take advantage of the growing maple syrup industry. New York has one of the country’s best agriculture traditions, and I will always do everything I can to make sure our producers can succeed.”

The U.S. maple industry has seen significant growth in recent years. In the last decade, U.S. maple production has nearly doubled, and according to the USDA the United States produced more than 4.27 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $147 million, in 2017. New York State ranks second in the nation for maple production, behind Vermont, with 806,000 gallons of maple syrup produced in 2018.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long fought on behalf of Upstate New York’s maple producers. Last year, the senators announced $4 million for the Acer Access and Development Program as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill—the highest ever funding level for the program—following Schumer’s trip to the American Maple Museum in Lewis County to advocate for boosted funding. Additionally, Gillibrand worked in the Agriculture Committee to extend this program through 2023 in last year’s Farm Bill. Schumer’s legislation, the Maple Tapping Access Program, which later became the Acer Access and Development Program, was signed into law as part of the 2014 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Specifically, this legislation provided authorization for USDA grants to states that create programs to encourage individual, private landowners to open up their trees to maple tapping. Schumer's legislation also provided authorization for USDA grants to states to support market promotion, maple industry research and development, and education through leading institutions.  

The full text of Gillibrand’s letter can be found here and below:

The Honorable John Hoeven

Chairman

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and

Drug Administration and Related Agencies

Washington, DC 20510                                 

The Honorable Jeff Merkley

Ranking Member

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and

Drug Administration and Related Agencies

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Hoeven and Ranking Member Merkley: 

We write to ask your support for the Acer Access and Development Program, which supports the growth of the U.S. maple syrup industry.  To ensure this program’s continued success, we respectfully request no less than $5 million for the Acer Access and Development Program in the FY2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. This program was recently reauthorized through 2023 at $20 million in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. 

Maple syrup is an important agricultural product across 10 states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.  According to the USDA, in 2017, the United States produced more than 4.27 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $147 million.  Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country.  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. Furthermore, between just 2015 and 2017 maple syrup production grew by nearly 840,000 gallons. The Acer program provides the opportunity for further investment and research to support farmers, increase production, strengthen conservation, and help drive efficiency.

We are pleased that the committee has previously provided support for the Acer program and grateful the committee was able to provide an increase for this program in FY 2018. If again provided appropriated funds, the Acer Access and Development Program will continue to support maple producers and allow for further investment in research and production to allow the U.S. to better 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 $5 million, one quarter of its authorized amount of $20 million. We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to working with you to support this important domestic agricultural product.

Sincerely,

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