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Online Maple Business Planning Courses Available

University of Vermont is offering two online short courses for current and prospective maple producers this fall.  Each course includes four classes (1.5 hours each), once per week, in addition to assignments that get participants completing real time analysis and making immediate decisions to enhance their business.  Mark Cannella, Extension Associate Professor, will instruct both courses.  Registration is now open!

  • Maple Business Planning  This four-session course guides participants through key aspects of preparing a business plan. Each session covers concepts in strategic planning, analyzing risks, marketing and planning improvements. Students prepare sections of their own plan over the four-week timeframe of the course. Register Here for Maple Business Planning. Course Dates: 7:00 – 8:30 EST pm EST on Tuesdays: 10/26, 11/2, 11/9 and 11/16.

 

  • Maple Financial Planning  This four-session course guides participants through the basics of financial statements and financial planning concepts. Topics included cash flow, balance sheets, sales forecasting and calculating cost-of-production. The goal of this course is to identify important numbers and where to find them in order to make powerful decisions for your business.  Register Here for Maple Financial Planning. Course Dates: 7:00 – 8:30 EST pm EST on Thursdays: 10/28, 11/4, 11/11 and 11/18.

Registration LIVE for Ohio Maple Days, December 11th

REGISTER NOW!!!

Join us Saturday, December 11th for a day of all things maple!  We will highlight research from Ohio State’s two ACER research grants and introduce you to some of our research partners from West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Spotted lanternfly is now in Ohio so learn its impacts and how producers can help.  We will also talk about how to improve your public events at the sugarbush, and a presentation on a new opportunity for selling bulk syrup.  The program runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM with registration opening at 8:30.

The full slate of presentations is as follows:

Ohio’s ACER Grants
Ohio Maple Producer Survey – Sayeed Mehmood, Ohio State University
Reds, Silvers, Rilvers and Sugars – Gabe Karns, Ohio State University,

Spotted Lanternfly in Ohio: How Maple Producers Can Help – Amy Stone, OSU Extension

Forest Management Planning – Kathy Smith, Ohio State University

Is Agritourism in Your Future? – Rob Leeds, Ohio State University Extension

Authentic Appalachia – Mike Rechlin, Future Generations University

Tapping Red Maple – Abby van den Berg, University of Vermont, Proctor Maple Research Center

10/9 Fall into Maple Tour Stop at Ohio State Mansfield

The 2021 International Fall into Maple Tour is scheduled for October 8-17.  On Saturday, October 9th, you have a great chance to visit with members of the Ohio State Maple team at Ohio State Mansfield between 10 AM-6 PM.  Visitors will be able to tour the research sugarbush, purchase OSU maple syrup, and see some new maple educational materials that we are excited to debut.  From 10 AM-noon, we will be serving a pancake breakfast to tailgate for the Ohio State versus Maryland football game that starts at noon.  Look for the event tent in the Ohio State Mansfield parking lot #8 and come see us.

Spotted Lanternfly on the Move

BAD BUG NEWS ALERT!!  This is not exactly the sort of update we are excited to relay.  Spotted lanternfly was detected last week in Cuyahoga County.  More details can be found at this link.

From a broader perspective, this is a great chance to remind producers that we will addressing the spotted lanternfly issue directly at the December 11th Ohio Maple Days event in Ashland.  And not just talking about spotted lanternfly either – rather, the focus will be to equip Ohio’s maple producers to be trained early detectors of this nasty forest invasive insect pest that poses a very real threat to maples and other native Ohio trees.

Past posts and webinars are also available on spotted lanternfly:

 

Southern Syrup Symposium Coming Soon

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, this fall’s Southern Syrup Symposium has been suspended until further notice.  Organizers are working to figure out if a virtual gathering later in the fall can be organized.  We will be sure to update when we know more.

This year’s Southern Syrup Symposium needs to be on your radar especially if you are a producer in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or of course Ohio.  The Southern Syrup Symposium brings together maple experts from all over, but the programming always has a little special emphasis on maple across the southern geographic tier.  This year’s event starts at noon on Friday, September 24th with your choice between 2 field workshops before the full-day program on Saturday, September 25th.  Lots of food and fellowship is mixed in throughout.  Talk topics cover the gamut from forest management to quality tasting syrup-making tips, climate impacts on maple and research updates – including ours!

Registration is open now and is available here.  See you in Morgantown!

2021 Maple Production: NASS Survey in Review

The 2021 NASS Maple Syrup Production Report was published June 10th.  Production in the United States dropped 700,000 gallons from 4,111,000 in 2020 to 3,424,000 in 2021. Vermont production declined 500,000 gallons from 1,950,00 in 2020 to 1,540,000 in 2021. NY dropped 157,000 gallons from 804,000 in 2020 to 647,000 gallons in 2021. Oddly enough, Maine held steady missing last year’s production by only 5,000 gallons (495,000 gallons total). Maine’s production has been remarkably stable over the last three years. Of the seven states polled only Wisconsin showed an increase in production. The Badger State increased production from 265,000 in 2020 to 300,000 in 2021. Pennsylvania, the closest state to Ohio geographically and often mirroring our production, recorded 165,000 gallons in the 2021 NASS survey, down 13,000 gallons from last year. Ohio is not listed because they and six other states were dropped from NASS’ survey in 2019.

There were many reasons for this year’s decline in maple production. Nationally, sap was collected for 27 days compared to 34 in 2020. In most regions, prolonged cold weather delayed the season start even though this was not reflected in the statistics. The survey actually showed normal start and stop dates; the extended bouts of time when it was too cold for sap to run is obscured in the more general averages and reflected in the total collection days. Many states started around the first of February and then experienced a 3-week shutdown due to abnormally cold weather. This weather pattern was particularly hard on states like Vermont and New York. Once the weather did warm up, temperatures rose quickly and, for the most part, permanently dramatically closing the season by the start of April.

Another statistic worth looking at is number of taps. The number of new taps has not increased dramatically over the last 3 years in the United States. Taps counted 13,400,000 in 2019, declined in 2020, and rebounded back to 13,335,000 in 2021. Only the state of New York has shown a steady increase in number of taps each of the last three years.

Yield per tap is calculated as the amount of syrup (in gallons) produced per tap in any given year, and this measure is determined for each state. The yield per tap declined from 2020 to 2021, hardly a surprise given the shortened season. The United States average declined from 0.314 to 0.257. States like Vermont and New York saw a decline whereas Wisconsin was the only state holding levels above 0.300 gallons per tap.

What goes into a making a good yield per tap? Normally it indicates a higher level of production especially in the well managed sugarbushes. Consider the fact that this is a statewide metric that averages together producers on high vacuum with producers utilizing buckets and bags. A year like 2021 can be especially hard on bucket producers. Anything over 0.300 (roughly 1/3 gallon of syrup per tap) is considered good, and if a state exceeds this level, you can be assured the high vacuum, high volume producers are pushing 0.500 per tap or more. These are all good benchmarks to rank your personal performance as an individual producer. If you are producing just under a half gallon of syrup per tap in an average year you are doing okay. Is there room for improvement? Yes. There are producers in our own state of Ohio pushing one gallon of syrup per tap – a goal to shoot for!

Overall, the NASS 2021 report contained no surprises. Remember this is a domestic United States report only and does not reflect Canadian production. As we all know, north of the border production is what drives the maple market and that is not likely to change anytime soon.  Long story short, United States production fell this year, but syrup in reserve in places like Quebec will likely stabilize the overall market and prevent any large interruptions.

Author: Les Ober, Geauga County Extension

July-October Webinar Series through UVM

Beginning Wednesday, July 21st, the University of Vermont is offering an excellent line-up of 8 webinars spanning into October.

The full topic line-up includes Total Yields from Red Maple (7/21), Maple Start-up Profiles and Financial Benchmarks (7/28), Best Practices for Birch Syrup Flavor (8/11), Sugarbush Inventory Methods (8/25), Sap-only Enterprises (9/15), Binding Contracts and Legal Agreements (9/29), Maple Forests and Carbon (10/13), and Northeast Forest Land Taxes and Programs (10/27).  While not all topics will apply directly to Buckeye State maple producers, many do and promise to be highly informative.

Full details with registration links are available here.

Maple Syrup History Site

Some of you may already be familiar with the Maple Syrup History website, but I am sure this will be new news to others.

Maple Syrup History is a smattering of historical accounts, product history, state-based events and turning points, and more – in the author’s own words, “a wide range of interests in all things maple.”  Matthew Thomas, an independent researcher with a PhD in Environmental Studies from University of Wisconsin, has been researching, compiling, and writing about maple history for over 20 years.

With so much content to sift through and peruse, I would encourage you to scroll down and keep your eye on the right margin for the Categories section where you can search specific topics.  OHIO is on the list, that’s a great place to start!

ACER Research Update: June 2021

We are continuing to make progress on our ACER grant “Freeman’s maple (red x silver) potential for syrup production and resilience in Ohio’s forests.”  Earlier in the month, we collected a series of reference samples from Secrest Arboretum and other locations of pure red maples, pure silver maples, and Freeman’s maples to dial in our approach for identifying individual trees in the Ohio State University-Mansfield research sugarbush via genetics.  The Molecular & Cellular Imaging Center at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster is processing the tissue samples in order to refine our genetic markers that are particularly useful for pinpointing hybridity of the Freeman’s or “rilver” maple.

How does one use genetics to identify different species or hybrids between two species?

Labs can slice out key segments of the DNA chain from extracted genetic material from plant cells, tissues, and seeds.  Once the right part of the DNA chain is isolated, a process called amplification copies and replicates the genomic material to make the diagnostic markers easier to interpret.  Polymerase chain reaction (PCR for short) is the most common method of amplification.

Try thinking about amplification this way.

You have no doubt used a photocopier in the past.  PCR is just a biotechnology copying machine.  Just as you might use your office equipment to make 100 copies of a single page out of a big book, PCR allows you to make copies of only the DNA piece that holds the information of interest.  There is one key difference (among many!) between your normal office copier and this biotech PCR process though.  A copier makes a stack of copies 1, 2, 3, 4, …97, 98, 99, and 100.  PCR makes copies more efficiently, exponentially actually – 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, …128, 256, 512, so on and so forth.

Enough about amplification, what can we do with diagnostic markers once we have made a whole bunch of duplicates.  Genetic markers are essentially genetic fingerprints.  The unique segments of DNA – the genetic fingerprints – differentiate different species from one another or show varying degrees of hybridity.  These fingerprints can be visualized with another lab process called gel electrophoresis.  Another big word, apologies.  But the main point is this – gels allow us to see, actually see with the naked eye, the genetic fingerprint of our sample and allow us to decide which species or hybrid we are examining.

Above is a panel of genetic fingerprints for differentiating silver maple on the left and red maples on the right.  The image was published as part of a study in 2019.  You can see that silver maples on the left are characterized by two bright bold lines at the bottom of the panel and a third almost halfway up.  Red maples, on the other hand, share the top and bottom band with silver maples, but have a different unique fingerprint with the second marker landing halfway in between.

Enough Genetics 101 for now…the ACER research continues to progress, and we are working toward a more reliable way of understanding how much red versus silver maple genetics are in our “rilver” research maples.

Author: Gabe Karns, OSU Mansfield & SENR

Maple Programming Survey – Please Participate!

Last week, we shared the exciting news that Ohio Maple Days will be making its IN-PERSON return on December 11th in Ashland, OH.

Ohio Maple Days Save the Date Flyer – December 11, 2021

This week, we want to invite you to participate in a survey to help inform statewide maple programming into the future.  By ranking your interest level across different maple-related topics and providing specific content ideas, we plan to use survey feedback to mold and shape high quality maple programming at Ohio Maple Days and other events – outreach and education that is most useful and most valuable to maple producers throughout the Buckeye State.

Click here to participate anonymously in the survey.