Low bulk prices squeeze the middle sized producer

Mark Cannella, University of Vermont Extension | November 7, 2018

MONTPELIER, Vt.—Scale, production systems, and marketing have a major impact on how a maple business operates and performs.

These factors can impact profits, owner sanity, job creation, land use, and community footprint. “Right-sizing” gets used by business managers to determine the right scale a particular business can operate to accomplish its goals.

Most maple enterprises are unique and the concept of “right-sizing” recognizes that all aspects of an enterprise come to play. The number of taps is not the only factor in right sizing. Market outlets, prices received and management skills are all important.

As global maple production increases the markets, communities, and business owners are facing changes. Vermont, like many other US maple regions, has over a 150 year cultural heritage of syrup production ranging from subsistence production to commercial activity. A long maple history reminds us that there are many “right-sizes” for sugaring that satisfy the goals of the producers.

The declining bulk price over the past 3 years has forced many maple business owners that sell bulk syrup to question if they are or will be at the right size to stay viable.

Agricultural research has demonstrated how mid-scale farms can often get stuck in the middle of the push and pull of economics and consumer preferences (see “Food and the Mid-Level Farm” by Lyson, Stevenson, and Welsh).

The mid-scale maple business is likely to be a full time job for the owners for part of the year. These operators need to earn a livelihood from risky business activity MORE ]


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The 2018 New York State Maple Producers Winter Conference

| Jan. 4, 2018

The 2018 New York State Maple Conference Friday evening program will feature two great options starting at 5:30.

One option is a show and tell on making maple cream on various kinds of equipment and comparing the results.

The second will feature Brad Gillian, president of Leader Evaporator, explaining the IMSI social media initiative and its power to enhance maple marketing. MORE ]


Innovators speak at Federation's annual general meeting

Submitted | Dec. 28, 2017

On November 22 and 23, the Federation held its annual general meeting in Lévis, on the south shore of Quebec City, where the IMSI meeting was also held this year.

This year during the conferences, the Federation wanted to underline the innovative aspects of our sector and to promote the entrepreneurship of the maple syrup producers. MORE ]


Late October storm pounded Vermont sugarmakers

Paul Post | Dec. 21, 2017

Bob White says some parts of his property looks like it was used for an Air Force bombing range.

A half-mile away, Dave Davis thought a locomotive was coming through his house, which shook violently from sustained high winds that reached up to 80 mph.

They’'re among the scores of northern Vermont maple producers still digging out, clearing away downed trees, and trying to assess damage from a severe storm that ripped through their area the night of Sunday, Oct. 29. MORE ]


Hubbell Award goes to sugarmaker Dale Moser

| Dec. 12, 2017

Dale Moser of Beaver Falls, N.Y. was awarded the Hubbell Award by the New York State Maple Producers Association on Aug. 15. Moser is active in maple sugaring where he works with his three sons, Don, Jake and Bryan.

Moser’s Maple has been in continuous operation since 1970 and at one time Dale ran a Small Brothers Maple Dealership till the Mid 80’s. MORE ]