MURPHY, STABENOW, KING LEAD GROUP OF SENATORS IN REQUESTING FUNDING TO SUPPORT MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCERS

In 2012, Connecticut tapped less than 1% of the maple trees in the state that were old enough to be tapped.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) led a group of senators in requesting at least $5 million in federal funding to support maple syrup producers in Connecticut and across the country. In a letter to Chairman John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Ranking Member Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, the senators highlighted the importance of the Acer Access and Development Program, which would help maple syrup producers increase production, strengthen conservation efforts, and compete in the global maple syrup economy. President Trump did not include any funding for the Acer Access and Development Program in his FY 2018 budget proposal. 

“Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country… [and] is also a critical conservation crop, which helps to keep our forests in production, conserves important lands, protects water quality, and provides a valuable economic benefit to rural communities. U.S. production has nearly doubled in the last decade thanks to recent innovations in vacuum tubing, sanitation practices, and better taps,” wrote the senators. “If provided appropriated funds, the Acer Access and Development Program will greatly help these efforts and allow for further investment in research, sustainability and increased production to allow U.S. producers to better compete in the global marketplace. To ensure that this new program is successful, we respectfully request no less than $5 million for the Acer Access and Development Program in the FY2018 Agriculture appropriations bill.”

According to the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut, Connecticut tapped less than 1% of the maple trees in the state that were old enough to be tapped in 2012. 

Last year, Murphy successfully fought to secure $1 million in first time funding for the Acer Access and Development Program to support maple syrup producers. He also joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress in urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect Connecticut maple sugar producers and consumers by taking action against products that falsely claim to contain maple syrup.  

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) joined Murphy, Stabenow, and King in sending the letter. 

The full text of the letter is available online and below:

The Honorable John Hoeven
Chairman
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies

The Honorable Jeff Merkley
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies 

Dear Chairman Hoeven and Ranking Member Merkley:

We write to ask your support for a new program authorized under the Agricultural Act of 2014. The Acer Access and Development Program was included in the Farm Bill to support and enhance the growth of the maple syrup industry. To ensure that this new program is successful, we respectfully request no less than $5 million for the Acer Access and Development Program in the FY2018 Agriculture appropriations bill.

Maple syrup is an important agricultural product across 10 states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. According to the USDA, in 2014, the United States produced more than 3.2 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $75-$100 million. Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country. Some are full time producers, while others are tapping trees to help supplement their income. Maple is also a critical conservation crop, which helps to keep our forests in production, conserves important lands, protects water quality, and provides a valuable economic benefit to rural communities.

The maple industry has shown significant growth in recent years. U.S. production has nearly doubled in the last decade thanks to recent innovations in vacuum tubing, sanitation practices, and better taps. The new Acer program will provide the opportunity for further investment and research in innovations like this to continue to increase production of this important crop, strengthen conservation, and help drive efficiency.

We are pleased that these new technologies are helping the United States to produce high quality maple syrup. While Canada is supplying 80 percent of the worldwide maple syrup market, increased production and efficiency in the U.S. is allowing domestic producers to gain ground. If provided appropriated funds, the Acer Access and Development Program will greatly help these efforts and allow for further investment in research, sustainability and increased production to allow U.S. producers to better compete in the global marketplace.

We understand that in the current fiscal climate budgets are constrained, which is why we are asking the Committee to fund this program at only one quarter of its authorized amount of $20 million. We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to working with you to support this important domestic agricultural product.

Sincerely,

Christopher S. Murphy
Debbie Stabenow
Angus S. King Jr.
Jeanne Shaheen
Richard Blumenthal
Elizabeth Warren
Bernard Sanders
Margaret Wood Hassan
Gary C. Peters
Tammy Baldwin
Kirsten Gillibrand
Edward J. Markey