Maple: New York’s “untapped” potential

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Charles Schumer was thinking about pancakes Wednesday - a thick stack of pancakes, smothered in New York maple syrup.

That’s what Schumer says comes to his mind when he talks about legislation he is proposing to help New York’s maple producers tap into the full potential of the industry.

“I believe New York can become the global leaders in the maple syrup industry and I have a plan to make it happen,” the Democrat said earlier this week, as he unveiled the Maple Tapping Access Program (TAP) Act.

The piece of legislation would provide up to $20 million a year in grants to encourage private landowners to tap their trees as well as to fund research, education and marketing efforts for the industry.

Schumer said his plan is similar to one implemented in Canada several decades ago. Canada currently dominates the industry with 85 percent of the syrup market.

“I’m very optimistic we can make it happen,” he said, explaining his goal of having the Maple TAP Act included in the 2012 Farm Bill.

According to the USDA, New York’s 1,500 maple producers produce one fifth of the U.S.’s maple syrup, ranking third behind Vermont and Maine. In 2009, New York’s maple industry generated $17.8 million in sales.

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