Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Press Releases

October 5, 2005

Contact: NNYADP Co-Chairs Jon Greenwood, 315-386-3231; Joe Giroux, 518-563-7523; NNYADP Coordinator R. David Smith, 607-255-7286

Research Project Looks at Improving Northern New York Maple Industry

One of the first research projects identified for 2005-06 by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program will look at improving the maple industry in Essex, Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties. 

�Maple is a high value crop in all the counties of Northern New York and making maple syrup is a profitable and sustainable use of the natural resource base for the area,� says Cornell University Professor Brian F. Chabot, one of the research project leaders. 

�Producers identified the need for sugarbush management research at a summer meeting with Cornell University Dean Susan Henry. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is providing the funding for faculty, educators and industry producers to work together on this project,� Chabot adds.

Chabot will work with Peter J. Smallidge, a forester and natural resources senior extension associate with Cornell University, three regional maple producers, Extension educators, and staff at Uihlein Maple Research Station in Lake Placid to learn how forest densities affect maple production per tree and per acre.

�The success of any maple operation begins with the ability of trees to produce sap and we want to know how different tree stocking densities and how forest thinning affects production,� Smallidge says.

The researchers will use historical data from forest thinning trials conducted at Uihlein Maple Research Station in the 1960s and from recovery research at 12 regional producer sites following the 1998 ice storm in combination with data gained from three producer-owned sugarbushes where thinning has occurred naturally or by management. 

The project data will include sap production measurements and several aspects of tree growth: trunk and crown diameters, crown depth and spacing, branching, height.

�As we analyze data, we will begin improving methods for sustaining tree health and sap yields and will develop a better understanding of forest management practices that maximize sugar yield and net income to producers,� Chabot says. 

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) is a farmer-led research and education program benefiting the six northernmost counties of New York state. For more information on NNYADP and on Uihlein Maple Research Station, go online to www.nnyagdev.org or contact NNYADP Co-Chairs Jon Greenwood, 315-386-3231 or Joe Giroux, 518-563-7523 or NNYADP Coordinator R. David Smith, 607-255-7286.

The 2002 Census of Agriculture counted 434 farms with 604,937 taps producing 105,613 gallons of syrup. The value of the maple crop in Northern New York is estimated at more than two-and-a-half million dollars. # # #

Northern New York Maple Industry (2002 Census of Agriculture)


# of farms w/ taps  # of taps # of gallons of maple syrup produced
Clinton 69  176,925  26,680
Essex 28 21,130 4,845
Franklin 33 40,119 6,465
Jefferson 44 26,618 5,551
Lewis  135  245,976 45,785
St. Lawrence 125 94,169 16,287
TOTAL 434 604,937 105,613

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