March 15, 2011
Contacts: Michael Farrell, Uihlein Maple Forest Director Michael Farrell, 518-523-9937, cell: 518-637-7000; also see end of release

Northern NY Maple Industry Aiming at $10 Million Future

Lake Placid, NY -- Northern New York’s maple sugaring industry has the potential to be a nearly $10 million per year industry across Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, according to a survey by Michael Farrell, director of the Cornell University Uihlein Maple Forest and Extension Center at Lake Placid, NY.

The current value of the maple industry in Northern New York is more than $5.5 million. In the past five years, the number of maple taps in NNY has increased 26 percent, adding more than $1.1 million in farm-gate revenues.

“Northern New York’s maple producers are interested to expand production to meet growing market demand. This region has a vast untapped resource of sugar maple trees. Most producers, however, have already tapped all the trees they own and need to work with landowners to lease trees, buy sap or process others’ sap into syrup,” says Farrell, Cornell’s Northern New York Maple Specialist and co-author of “Increasing NNY Maple Production through Effective Producer/Landowner Collaborations.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County Director Anita Deming adds, “Several Northern New York woodlot owners are benefitting from the agricultural tax relief gained by leasing their maple trees to nearby maple producers.”

By leasing trees to sugarmakers to tap, landowners may be able to qualify for agricultural assessment, thereby earning a reduction in their annual property tax payments.

“My survey research found that the tax relief is by far the biggest incentive for landowners to utilize their maples for syrup production. Many landowners have decided to start producing syrup themselves or are leasing their trees to another sugarmaker in order to qualify for the tax savings,” Farrell says.

Research reports with information on the growth potential of the Northern NNY maple industry; tips on forest management, syrup production and making maple confections and a link to information on real property tax reduction opportunities for eligible farmland in New York State are online at www.nnyagdev.org/_maple.htm

The website also has links to the Cornell Maple Program, NY Forest Owners, NYS Maple Producers Association and Uihlein Maple Research Forest.

Check with local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices for sugarhouses participating in the New York State Maple Weekends March 19-20 and March 26-27. The sugarmakers offer sap boiling and forest tours, wagon rides and other activities, and product for sale.

Cornell Cooperative Extension offers maple producer schools and forest management workshops. For more information, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension for:
• Clinton County, Plattsburgh, 518-561-7450
• Essex County, Westport, 518-962-4810
• Franklin County, Malone, 518-483-7403
• Jefferson County, Watertown, 315-788-8450
• Lewis County, Lowville, 315-376-5270
• St. Lawrence County, Canton, 315-379-9192.

The Lewis County Maple Producers Association also includes producers in Oswego County. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County can be reached in Mexico, NY, at 315-963-7286. #