State looks to expand maple syrup production

03/27/09 5:45PM By Ross Sneyd

AP Photo/T. Talbot
(Host) A new agreement was signed this morning between the state and the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers Association.

It will expand the number of state forests and parks where sugarmakers can tap trees for maple syrup production.

Jason Gibbs is commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

(Gibbs) ``There's a whole host of criteria that we apply in the evaluation of these sites and we give very careful consideration to it. We've so far identified 11 that would make perfect sugarbushes and we're looking forward to getting them licensed and operational for the next sugaring season.''

(Host) The state already has licensed two sites on state lands where trees can be tapped by commercial producers.

The sugarmaker pays the state a lease fee to tap the trees. Gibbs says the project won't make a lot of money for the state, but that's not the point.

(Gibbs) ``The economic value to the state as a whole is more significant if you look at this in the context of the value of maple sugar to the state, to the state's brand, to those individuals who are in the industry, to farmers who use it to add value to their operation.''

(Host) Vermont's annual celebration of the maple syrup industry takes place this weekend. Sugarmakers around the state are throwing open their sugaring operations for open houses on Saturday and Sunday.


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