Recordings & Proceedings
Watch recordings and read materials from the 2021 conference as well as previous years.
Maple Industry Development - This session explores current issues being addressed within the maple industry and how research, service and maple producer participation is posed to impact the next phase of industry development. Topics include improvements to USDA maple statistics, market development initiatives, and a summary of important themes from October’s International Maple Syrup Conference in Wisconsin.
Intro to Maple Management - An overview of maple business resources available on the Maple Manager website and how they can help you plan for this next maple season. The MapleManager.org site was designed by the University of Vermont Extension Farm/Forest Business and Maple Programs and includes a variety of educational resources for current maple producers, prospective maple producers, and forest land managers. Resources include over fifteen hours of webinar recordings, eight maple business planning modules, maple investment startup profiles, sugarbush lease templates and more. This session covers common questions and how these resources can benefit your business planning.
Employment Law Basics for Maple Producers - As a business owner, you manage risk with insurance coverage, hiring and training good staff and making sure you have the right equipment. Have you brushed up on what is required when you have employees, even just one or two? Understanding some employment law basics is just another form of risk management for your business. What are the requirements for pay stubs, overtime, sick leave? Do these change based on the number of employees you have? Have you posted all the required signs informing employees of their rights under state and federal law? This session offers an overview of these requirements in an easily digestible format that offers plenty of time for questions and answers.
Small Scale Sugaring Fundamentals I - From tree ID, basic sugarbush management concepts, sap collection systems (gravity and vacuum), tapping guidelines, sap storage and sanitation, this session introduces all the elements needed to grow healthy trees and produce sustainable yields of sap for first time producers or small operators.
Small Scale Sugaring Fundamentals II - From small reverse osmosis units, sap storage, boiling sap on single pans or small evaporators to properly grading and bottling syrup, this session is for first time producers or small operators and introduces the core elements needed to convert sap into high quality pure maple syrup.
The Doctors are IN - Do you have a vexing problem in your operation? Are you looking to invest in some area but don’t know which will provide the best gains? Are you curious about the latest research in maple production? Bring your questions for University of Vermont researchers Dr. Tim Perkins and Dr. Abby van den Berg for an hour of Q&A on a range of topics.
Updating the USDA NASS Maple Crop Survey - Every year thousands of maple producers fill out the USDA/NASS survey and report their maple crop. The data collected is the only publicly available information of how many gallons were produced, taps installed and yield/tap; however, concerns have been raised that the survey significantly underestimates the crop size. Accurate data is critical for a healthy industry. This presentation covers the work by an International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) working group working with USDA/NASS to streamline the survey and boost participation.
Total Yields and Syrup Flavor from Red Maple Trees - Red maple trees are sometimes ignored as crop trees for maple production due to several persistent beliefs, including that they produce lower yields than sugar maple trees and syrup with inferior flavor properties. Experiments were conducted to test these beliefs empirically, by quantifying the total annual yields from red maple trees and assessing the flavor of syrup produced from pure red and sugar maple sap.
Food Safety & Quality Issues in Maple - Pure maple syrup is generally considered a “low-risk” food in terms of food safety regulations and following good production practices can limit the risks even further. This presentation will cover food safety issues related to production, bottling and storage of pure maple syrup.
Maple Quality in the Marketplace Today - 250 maple containers of pure maple syrup were purchased online in 2020 and tested for density, color grade and flavor. Learn how many samples met the grading standards, how different testing instruments compare, the most common grading problems and some best practices to ensure high quality syrup reaches your customers.
Welcoming Visitors in your Sugarhouse and Sugarbush - Do you sell your maple products or give tours at your sugarhouse? Is your sugarbush open for hiking? Thinking about it, but not sure? Join us for a discussion about marketing, safety, liability, and other considerations. We’ll share information (and let you know how to get free signs) for Maple 100, Open Farm Week, and the new agritourism limited liability statute – and we’ll make time for a round robin about what would be most helpful for your sugaring operation.
Sugarhouse Certification Program - VMSMA launched the Sugarhouse Certification Program last spring. What has changed, what’s new on the Checklist, what kinds of resources are available for sugar makers, and what does the future hold for Certification? Join Arnie and other VMSMA Education Committee members for a discussion of all things Certification. Bring your questions and feedback!
Are Sweet Trees Actually Sweet? The Cornell Maple Program in Lake Placid, NY has been managing groves of sugar maples selected and propagated for having genetically sweeter sap for close to 40 years. Are these trees actually sweeter and how much sap do they produce? Recent sampling looked back over the plantation to test the heritability of sap sweetness.
Sugar Maple Health & Climate Change - There has been a lot of research over the years investigating the health and productivity of sugar maple in Vermont and the broader region. What do these findings tell us about how sugar maple might fair under a changing climate? Are there strategies that can be used to bolster the resilience of sugar maple?
Research Update from the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center - Back by popular demand! Abby van den Berg will share results and progress from various research projects on maximizing yields and sustainability at the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center.
Ask Dr. Tim - With a long and distinguished career in maple research, Tim Perkins has been directly involved in many of the areas of study responsible for increases in yields over the past 25 years. As the session name suggests, bring your questions about any and all topics related to maple production.
[Research on] Early Tapping & Taphole Longevity Strategies: Dr. Abby van den Berg, Research Associate Professor with UVM's Department of Plant Biology and Proctor Maple Research Center, shares the results of a multi-year experiment conducted by the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center to determine the net yields and impacts of fall and early-winter tapping, with and without subsequent "freshening" of the tapholes by re-drilling them wider and/or deeper.
Review of Vermont Maple Regulations & Common Issues Found During Product Inspections: Tucker Diego from Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets reviews the basics of the Vermont Maple Product Regulations and the Agency's approach to maple product inspections. In recent years, the Agency has resumed inspection of maple products at retails stores to ensure products comply with labeling, grade, and sanitary standards. Diego shares recent findings from early 2020 (pre-COVID) and discusses common issues found during product inspections.
Designing & Installing a Maple Tubing System: Adam Wild, the director of Cornell University's Uihlein Maple Research Forest located in Lake Placid, NY, shares information about basic tubing design and installation for both gravity and vacuum systems.
Forestry & Sugarbush Management: Mark Isselhardt, UVM Extension's Maple Specialist, shares results from a recent survey of professional foresters that includes approaches and challenges to successful sugarbush management.
Online Advertising Tools & Takeaways: Advertising your business online can often seem overwhelming if you don't know where to start and what you're trying to accomplish. Zac Smith, UVM Extension, and Mike Lannen, Eternity Marketing, show you how to set tangible goals, start small, and expand your online advertising with a variety of tools.
Resilient Businesses: Adapting to Change: Maple producers and sellers are adjusting many aspects of their businesses to adapt to the shifting environment of the national pandemic. During this session Mark Cannella, UVM Extension, shares successes and considerations from shifting operations, marketing, and financial approaches to remain viable. Canella is joined by Jenna and Jacob from Baird Farm to share some of their perspectives.
Proctor Maple Research Center Update: Dr. Tim Perkins, Director of UVM's Proctor Maple Research Center, shares a review of the past year at PMRC and a collection of recent findings on topics related to sap and syrup production.
Keys to High Yield: Actual yields in many maple operations are often lower than those achievable under optimum conditions. Dr. Abby van den Berg, Research Associate Professor with UVM's Department of Plant Biology and Proctor Maple Research Center, presents practices to narrow this gap, from tree to sugarhouse.
Sugarbush Water Quality & AMPs: Understanding how roads and water interact in the sugarbush is important for many reasons. Dave Wilcox, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation Watershed Forester, provides a clear understanding of how acceptable management practices (AMPs) used in timber harvesting can help improve water quality, reduce erosion, and keep access to the sugarhouse open.
Maple Storytelling With Photography & Social Media: Use photography and social media to connect with consumers and market your business. Learn some basics of photography with your smart phone and how to use your photos to engage with an online audience including: best practices for posting compelling pictures and stories on social media, what to avoid, and how to use what you have to take good quality pictures and effectively engage potential customers. With Chadwick Estey (City Market/Onion River Co-op), Jenna Baird (Baird Farm), and Abby Roleau (Gateway Farm).
Maple Tele-Medicine: What is Making my Syrup Taste Sick?: Most people recognize good tasting syrup and many can pick out when syrup tastes off, but occasionally there is a flavor that is not easily identified. Mark Isselhardt, UVM Extension, and Henry Mackres, retired Vermont Chief of Consumer Protection, discuss syrup flavors (and off-flavors) and sample syrup sent in advance of the session for diagnoses.
Sugarhouse Certification: VMSMA is about to launch the new Sugarhouse Certification Program. David Tremblay, VMSMA Quality Director, and Arnie Piper, VMSMA Board Vice Chair, discuss what certification involves and how the process will work to benefit sugar makers. Tremblay and Piper talk about what they've noticed during their sugarhouse visits and how certification is tied to state and federal food safety rules.
Thinning Your Sugarbush for Sap & Tree Health: Thinning is a specific woodlot management practice to concentrate growth on the most desirable trees. Peter Smallidge, Senior Extension Associate with Cornell University's Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, reviews the benefits of thinning, how to know if you should thin your sugarbush, potential problems from thinning, and reviews research about how thinning in sugarbushes affects health, tapping options, and production.
Renting Taps to Enhance Viability: Can access to more taps improve your business? Do you own forest land that you'd like to lease to sugar makers? Mark Cannella, UVM Extension, provides information on leasing taps and different approaches to setting rental rates. He also shares the new UVM Sugarbush Lease Guide and Sugarhouse Lease Guide with participants.
Listen to an Interview (audio, 11 minutes) with UVM Extension Maple Specialist Mark Isselhardt about the 2017 Vermont Maple Conferences
Plenary Talk: Cultural Responses to Economic Change in the Maple Industry, (audio, 38 minutes), Michael Lange, Associate Professor at Champlain College
Beginning Sugarmaking: Trees, Taps, Tubing and Tanks, (pdf) George Cook, UVM Extension Maple Specialist
Managing for a Healthy Sugarbush in a Changing Climate, (pdf) Jared Nunery and Nancy Patch, County Foresters, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
Growth and Tree Rings: Responses of Northern Forests to Drought, (ppt) Heidi Asbjornsen and Matt Vadeboncoeur, University of New Hampshire
Maple Industry Panel (audio, 54 minutes), Bruce Bascom (Bascom Maple Farm), Emma Marvin (Butternut Mountain Farm) Bradley Gillian (Leader Evaporator) and moderator Mark Isselhardt (UVM Extension)
What's a Sugarbush Worth?, (video) Robert Guay, Manager of Appraisal Services, Yankee Farm Credit
- Forest Pest News, (video) Barbara Schultz, Forest Health Program Manager with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
- How Microbes Affect Maple from the Tree to the Finished Product, (video) Tim Perkins, Director of the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center
- Is Tapping Below the Lateral a Good Idea?, (video) Mark Isselhardt, maple production educator with University of Vermont Extension
- Spout Replacement, Tubing Cleaning, or Both -- Which is Best?, (video) Dr. Abby van den Berg, University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center