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Upcoming NAMSC Webinars

Thinking of adding value-added pure maple products to your operation?  Looking to improve your current candy and cream skills?  Merle Maple confections expert Eileen Downs will demonstrate the processes used to make award-winning candy and cream, from start to finish.  Join this North American Maple Syrup Council webinar on Monday, December 12th at 7 PM.  Register here.

The second opportunity is offered twice.  Once at 7 PM on December 14th and again on December 17th at noon.  In these sessions, the lead researcher (Geoff Lewis from the University of Michigan) will describe this maple syrup life cycle inventory project and go over the data they’re looking to collect from producers and processors this coming spring.  These data will also be used to build an online calculator for any producer to estimate their own greenhouse gas emissions and receive suggested strategies to reduce these emissions.  There will be plenty of time to answer questions about the project and participate.  Registration information is here.

Ohio Maple Days & Workshop Registration DEADLINE Approaching

Registration is sneaking up for the Friday & Saturday festivities surrounding Ohio Maple Days.

In order of their occurrence, Mark Cannella is hosting a maple business workshop representing by University of Vermont on Friday, December 9th.  Mark is offering this half day workshop with a focus on strategic planning, marketing and managing finances toward profitability.  Participants are encouraged to bring any business records and information of their own to apply during the workshop.  There are 4 SAF category 1 continuing education credits offered for the day.  Space is limited and seats are running out – register now!

Friday evening, you do not want to miss out on the One Sweet Gathering fundraising banquet thrown by the Ohio Maple Producers Association.  Register here!

And of course the main event on December 10th, Saturday for Ohio Maple Days.  We will meet again at Ashland University’s John C. Meyer Convocation Center for a jam-packed program on all things maple.  Updates on red maple research from both Ohio State’s Gabe Karns and the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center’s Abby van den Berg.  Add to this other talks on reverse osmosis, marketing and insects impacting maple trees.  A maple themed lunch and a vendor room that features a variety of maple equipment dealers, consulting foresters and other associated equipment help round out the day.  There are also SAF continuing education credits available for the program.  Registration here.

 

 

Fall Maple Assessment – Get Ready for Next Season

The leaves have changed and have mostly fallen from the trees.  In some corners of Ohio, the first snow has already fallen.  For maple syrup producers, that means the push to get ready for a new season is upon us.  This is the best time of year to walk through your entire operation and systematically appraise your operation.  Now is the time to walk your sugarbush with a notebook in hand.  This assessment process allows you to locate the little things that make a big difference when the sap starts flowing.

Begin by looking at the most logical place first – your trees!  What condition are the trees in?  Are they healthy?  Did the June storms cause wind damage to the crowns?  The health of the trees will determine the number of taps per tree, and to some extent, the depth of your taphole.  If trees appear stressed, consider tapping a bit shallower (1.5 inches) rather than the full 1.75” or 2” depth.  It is not unusual to rest a tree for a season, allowing it to overcome obvious stressors.

Now reflect on your tubing system’s performance the very first year it was installed.   Compare that year to the way your system performed last year.  Have you noticed a drop-off in performance? It is easy to blame a poor season on the weather; in reality, the cause could be the age of your system and some neglected repairs.  For many producers, the first inclination is run out into the woods looking for squirrel chews and start repairing lines.  Do not get me wrong, that is important, but it is just one stage of a more holistic leak detection process.  The first order of business should be to inspect the lines for more systemic degradation and disrepair.  I hope that everyone is starting every season with all new spouts?!  However, your assessment should look deeper still.

When was the last time you changed the drops?  How long are the drops?  Are they long enough to allow you to reach around the tree?  Thirty-two inches is a good starting point for drop length in established systems.  What condition are your tees in?  Bad tees lead to micro leaks that sometimes are worse than squirrel chews because they are harder to locate and might be ignored an entire season.  What condition are your laterals?  Do they need to be replaced?  Are you noticing a mold buildup in the lines?  Are your lines patched together because of multiple repairs and damage?  When you replace laterals, it is a good time to look at the overall layout of the lateral system?  Count your taps on each lateral to determine if one is overloaded.  Remember, any given lateral should only be carrying 5 to 7 taps.  Also look at the slope of each lateral.  Is it running straight and tight and downhill for best performance?  What about your saddles, are they leaking?  Old saddles, just like old tees, need to be replaced on a regular basis – at least every 5 years.  Old saddles are often one of the major causes of leakage in maple tubing systems.

The next area of concern is the mainlines.  Ultraviolet light and wind damage are major causes of stress on mainlines.  Mainlines are good for 10 to 15 years, but eventually they must be replaced.  Yes, that is an expensive project!  However, the benefits outweigh the cost.  Installing new lines also allows you to remove damaged and unwanted trees during the repair.  Sugarbush stand improvement is important as it will improve the overall health and productivity of your sugarbush in the long-term.  Hazard trees, such as standing dead ash, should also be dealt with during a mainline replacement project.

It is easy to see how performing a pre-season assessment of your tubing system can be beneficial.  And that is just the tubing system!  After you walk your sugarbush – clipboard in hand – go back to the sugarhouse and develop an improvement plan. What must you buy?  In what quantity?  When will it arrive?  Are their supply chain delays?  Rank everything you have found in order of importance and start chipping away at your list – sap season will be here before you know it!

It’s Time to be Counted – USDA Ag Census

Attention: Ohio Maple Producers

As many of you probably remember, USDA NASS stopped collecting Ohio’s maple syrup production data in 2019.  Since that time the Ohio Maple Producers Association, The Ohio State University Extension, and others have had no readily available annual data to use in the support of our state’s maple industry.  Without this information, the ability to present hard numbers in support of our industry to Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio’s Legislature has been limited.  Even though our ability to report annually is gone, Ohio Producers can report every five years via the Census of Agriculture.  In fact, just like the US Census, reporting to the Census of Agriculture is mandatory for all farmers in Ohio and the US.  On this note, I (Les Ober writing here) received the following request from Jean Lamontagne Executive Director of the International Maple Syrup Institute.

It’s Time To Be Counted!!

Greetings to all maple association leaders, please take note and inform your members.

 

“The Census of Agriculture is taking place this month! Every five years, the USDA takes a Census of all US Agriculture to update its complete count of America’s farms and the hardworking people who run them.

 

The census provides valuable information used at the local, state, and national levels to plan for the future and help ensure our country’s agricultural community receives the resources it needs. Participating helps inform decisions about policy, conservation programs, infrastructure, education, and more. It is also the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agricultural data for every county and state in the country. Make every voice count in the future of agriculture by participating in the census!”

 

All information gathered is completely anonymous and private.

 

 If you do not receive a census form in the mail in November sign up at 

 

https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/static/get-counted.html

 

Jean Lamontagne, MBA McGill

Executive Director IMSI

 

NOTE: It is important for our maple industry to respond to this survey and the annual NASS maple syrup survey.  An up-to-date, accurate and complete aggregate record of the US maple crop’s growth and yield gives producers, packers, and equipment manufacturers a competitive advantage compared to other businesses and industries that are competing for capital as well as public funding such as research grants. Being counted helps the entire industry’s ability to influence supportive public policy decisions at every level of government as well as benefiting from economic development programs.

Over the last two years, I have been working on a IMSI (International Maple Syrup Institute) Committee submitting proposals to revise the NASS Maple data collection protocol.  Significant progress has been made.  It is my sincere hope that if Ohio Maple has a positive response to the 2022 Ag Census, the state may be reinstated in some form.  This will only be possible if Ohio Maple Producers include their maple production data in the Ag Census along with the rest of any other commodity data produced on your farm.  Please support Ohio’s maple industry by including your maple data in the 2022 Census of Agriculture when it shows up in your mailbox this month.

It’s time to be counted!

Les Ober, Geauga County Extension Educator
NE Ohio Maple Syrup Program Coordinator
The Ohio State University Extension
Ober.10@osu.edu
440-834-4656

Upcoming Maple Events

There is a flurry of upcoming maple programming and events to consider.

Of course, the International Maple Conference just concluded up in Lacrosse, Wisconsin held over the latter part of last week and weekend.

Next weekend, the Ohio Maple Producers Association are convening for a great line-up of food, fellowship, tours, and syrup contests.  Dates are Nov 4-5 and additional details can be found here.

Just a few days after, Seldom Seen Farm will host a Woodland Wednesday program from 4:00-7:00 PM on November 9th.  In collaboration with Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District, Geauga County Farm Bureau, NRCS, and host Seldom Seen Farm, speakers will discuss the relationship between modern forestry and the maple industry.  Specific topics will include thinning, tree crown development, soil conditions, and maple tubing in the sugarbush.  All are welcome to this free outdoor event that will benefit the landowner and woodsman alike.  Please RSVP to Kevin Holy at 440-596-9717 or via email (kevin@seldomseenmaple.com).

Lake Erie Maple Expo, the following weekend of November 11 and 12, will host its usual showcase of vendors, talks, and all and everything else maple.

Completing the first half of November flurry, Penn State Extension Educator Brian Walsh will discuss what is known about the spotted lanternfly and observations about maple trees that provide insight as to the impact the insect could have on the industry.  Pennsylvania has endured a longer stint of spotted lanternfly infestation than Ohio, and we can learn more about what to potentially expect by seeing what has been learned by our neighbors to the east.  Register for the November 16 – 10:00 AM webinar here.

Ohio Maple Days 2022 Registration Live

Please join us on December 9th and 10th for a great line-up of workshops, socials, and seminars at this year’s Ohio Maple Days.  Registration is available at the Woodland Stewards website.  Saturday has a packed agenda of research talks, seminars, vendor displays, and down time to enjoy meals engaging with fellow maple enthusiasts.

Preceding Saturday, Friday will feature a half-day business planning workshop with Dr. Mark Cannella (ad below) followed by a banquet and social with maple-themed entrees, drinks, and cocktails galore (buy tickets here!).  Registration for each event is separate, so don’t miss out a great 2-day package of maple education and fun.

State Service Forester Maple Workshop

Shortly after the 2022 Maple Boot Camp concluded, we hosted a dedicated workshop for ODNR’s State Service Foresters.  To find out who is  your local forester, click here and consult the district map and contact list.

To learn more about ODNR’s State Service Foresters, visit their website here.

The goal of the workshop was 2-fold.  First and foremost, goal #1 was to educate and work with Ohio’s forester community around the topic of maple.  Maple gets mentioned a lot at professional conferences, workshops, seminars, and in day-to-day interactions; however, mentions are most often just in passing.  Therefore, having a dedicated full day to talk only about maple as it pertains to sugaring potential was an absolute treat.  And it was extremely well received.  Everyone in attendance, which was well over half of the Service Foresters statewide, left with an enhanced knowledge of maple and increased level of comfort and ease to speak with landowners about the non-timber maple opportunities.

Goal #2 was to introduce a maple toolbox for foresters and other natural resource professionals.  This is a collaborative project that is still a work in-progress; however, it is puts actual tools in trained hands to assess maple woods for sugaring potential.  High level site assessments and fine-scale granular inventories, resource lists to get connected within the state’s maple vendor and contractor community, basic information about maple pests and identification, and more.  The toolbox empowers our state forester community to be advocates for maple while they are out doing their job and interacting with Ohio woodland owners.  As the toolbox hits full stride, we are excited to share its impact and reach!

Ohio Maple Boot Camp

We hosted Maple Boot Camp at Ohio State Mansfield on June 22-24.  Carri Jagger, Thomas deHaas, and Kathy Smith pulled this post together for the Buckeye Yard & Garden Online blog.

We cannot hold events of this quality without a lot of help and support.  A big thanks to Carri and Kathy, Mike Lynch from CDL, Mike Hogan of OSU Extension, Sayeed Mehmood, Les Ober, Mike Rechlin, Kate Fotos, and Mike Lucero.  I hope I am not forgetting anyone.  And an especially huge thanks to the Brown family at Bonhomie Acres and Stan Hess for opening up their operations for tours and interfacing with Boot Camp attendees.

Here are a sprinkling of photos to supplement what you’ll see at the linked write-up above.

Ohio State Maple Syrup BACK IN STOCK

The Ohio State Maple Store is back in stock.  Our 2022 syrup inventory has officially hit the shelves, and you can place your order here.

Glass half pints and jug pints, quarts, and half gallons are available.  Orders can be shipped to your door (extra fee) or picked up at the Franklin County Extension Office off Kenny Road in Columbus or from Riedl Hall on Ohio State Mansfield campus in Richland County.

We are so appreciative of the support everyone has shown in purchasing syrup.  Thanks to your purchases, we have employed 5 different students working field-based experiential jobs just this calendar year alone.  One full-time student and 2 part-timers during our 2022 maple research season, and 2 additional full-time positions that just recently completed summer fellowships.