(WBNG Binghamton) New York Senator Charles E. Schumer announced Tuesday that his legislation, the ‘Maple Tap Act’, which will provide federal funding to spur maple syrup production in Upstate New York, has passed the Senate as part of the bipartisan Farm Bill, with a vote of 66-27.
According to a news release from Schumer's office:
Schumer has long fought for this legislation which could help maple producers in the Hudson Valley and in Upstate New York to boost their production and become more competitive with places like Canada. Specifically, the Maple Tap Act would provide USDA grants of up to $20 million per year to states that create programs to encourage individual landowners to open up their trees to maple tapping. Schumer’s legislation would also provide grants to states to support market promotion, maple industry research and development, and education through leading institutions, like Cornell. Schumer today urged his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass this legislation as part of the 2013 Farm Bill.
New York currently taps less than one percent of the state’s nearly 300 million maple trees, forcing the U.S. to import four times as much maple syrup as it produces. The state has failed to take full advantage of its maple resources in part because nearly three quarters of the tappable maple trees are on privately owned land, potentially leaving over $80 million worth of maple sap inside the trees. Despite having 200 million fewer maple trees than New York, the Canadian province of Quebec taps roughly a third of its maple trees and is able to put out over 40 million more maple trees every year, cementing its standing as the world’s leader in syrup production.
“As maple syrup is poured on top of pancakes and drizzled over waffles at breakfast tables each morning, I want more of it to be stamped ‘Made in NY’. The Senate-passed ‘Maple Tap Act’ could help do just that, by opening up funding and other resources to unleash the potential of Upstate New York’s maple industry, and tapping the hundreds of millions of maple trees that sit unused for syrup production. This plan provides grants to help open up private lands for tapping, and for research and education in syrup production, further bolstering our efforts to make sure that New York’s agricultural market can reap the benefits of its natural resources. I’m pleased that my legislation, the Maple TAP Act has passed the Senate, and I’m urging my colleagues in the House to do the same. “
Schumer has visited a number of maple farms throughout the state to gain support for this legislation. Schumer vowed to include the Maple Tap Act in the Senate Farm Bill. For example, this year Schumer visited the Parker Family Maple Farm, a generations-old family owned and operated business in West Chazy, NY. In 1884, Adolphus & Amelia Parker bought an acre of land and established their home in West Chazy. In 1889, they bought an adjoining 60 acres and started a dairy farm and maple sugaring operation. The operation has grown to include 700 acres of land, a 45-cow dairy farm, a 42,000 tap maple operation, a gift shop, and the fifth generation of Parkers. Schumer also cited Crown Maple Farm, located in Dutchess County, and its state-of-the-art maple tapping and production facility as a potential for major growth. Crown Maple Farm is owned and managed by Robb and Lydia Turner and is part of Madava Estates. The farm and production facility is located in the Hudson River Valley, and the 800 acre property contains thousands of sugar and red maples that produce an ideal sap for maple sugaring. Crown Maple has invested in some of the most advanced maple syrup production technologies available which will allow New York to become the leader in U.S. maple production. Crown Maple has already created 50 construction jobs, and expects to employ approximately 100 New Yorkers once at full capacity.
Across New York State, there are over nearly 300 million maple trees with syrup-tapping potential, with local upstate farmers relying on it as a lucrative pocket in the agriculture industry. However, despite the staggering number of trees across the state, less than one percent of them are currently used for maple tapping, forcing the U.S. to import four times as much maple syrup as it produces. By contrast, Canada currently produces 85 percent of the world’s maple product, tapping into over one-third of their maple trees. New York has about 1.8 million taps, while Quebec, the epicenter of the Canadian maple industry, has nearly 40 million.
The Maple TAP Act has the potential to increase maple taps and boost revenue to farmers all across the state – here is how the numbers break down:
• In the North Country, the epicenter of New York's maple industry, there are 70 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $19 million in revenue per year.
• In the Capital Region, there are 34.8 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $10 million in revenue per year.
• In the Western New York, there are 21.1 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $6 million in revenue per year.
• In the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, there are 11.6 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $3 million in revenue per year.
• In the Southern Tier, there are 70.8 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $22 million in revenue per year.
• In Central New York, there are 45.5 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $13 million in revenue per year.
• In the Hudson Valley, there are 26.8 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $8.7 million in revenue per year.
To combat the lack of utilization of the state’s maple resources and unleash Upstate New York’s maple tapping and research potential, Schumer introduced legislation that would authorize USDA to make grants of up to $20 million per year to support maple syrup production to states like New York. These grants could be used to encourage owners and operators of privately held land to expand their tapping operations or voluntarily make their land available for maple tapping, to promote maple industry research and education at institutions like Cornell, and for market promotion for maple syrup and maple products.