Happy National Maple Syrup Day! According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service, U.S. maple syrup production totaled 4.24 million gallons in 2019. In 2018, the U.S. maple syrup market was valued at $142 million with an average price per gallon of $33.80. Forecasts point to continued growth domestically and globally.
Several NIFA grant recipients are working to support the nation’s maple syrup market. At Cornell University, researchers tapped McIntire-Stennis funding to develop new technologies to support commercial producers that can scale to benefit entry-level producers as well as backyard hobbyists. The work is important given that demand for maple syrup and related products and the number of producers continue to increase, and commercial and entry-level producers are demanding improved methods for efficiency and production.
At the University of Vermont, researchers and Extension specialists capitalized on funding from NIFA’s Organic Transitions Program to help increase organic production of maple syrup to benefit consumers and producers. Despite a growing demand for organic maple syrup, barriers exist for conventional producers to transition to organic. However, findings on tree health, syrup yields of various sizes of trees, and the most effective certified organic defoamers have reduced these burdens. Now maple syrup producers have additional information and resources to improve organic maple syrup operations, increase the market for this in-demand product, and increase profitability.
And at the University of New Hampshire, scientists leveraged Hatch funding to find the sweet spot for unique tasting, high-value syrups. They are assessing the sap flows in deciduous hardwoods such as sycamore, beech, birch, hickory, and basswood, which may offer commercial and backyard maple syrup producers an untapped opportunity to extend the Northeast sugaring season and diversify the industry as well as your next pancake breakfast with niche syrups. Birch syrup, anyone?