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Fall 2020 Maple Mainline

Proceedings of Vermont Maple Conference Week (December 6th-11th, 2020)

Conference Session Videos

Industry Panel

[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.

Prodeedings of the 2020 Vermont Maple Conference

Proceedings of the 2019 Vermont Maple Conference

Proceedings of the 2018 Vermont Maple Conference

Proceedings of the 2017 Vermont Maple Conference

Listen to an Interview (audio, 11 minutes) with UVM Extension Maple Specialist Mark Isselhardt about the 2017 Vermont Maple Conferences

Michael LangePlenary Talk: Cultural Responses to Economic Change in the Maple Industry, (audio, 38 minutes), Michael Lange, Associate Professor at Champlain College


George Cook presentation slide thumbBeginning Sugarmaking: Trees, Taps, Tubing and Tanks, (pdf) George Cook, UVM Extension Maple Specialist


Managing sugarbush thumbManaging for a Healthy Sugarbush in a Changing Climate, (pdf) Jared Nunery and Nancy Patch, County Foresters, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation


Drought presentation thumbnailGrowth and Tree Rings: Responses of Northern Forests to Drought, (ppt) Heidi Asbjornsen and Matt Vadeboncoeur, University of New Hampshire


maple leaves on the groundMaple 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)


Sugarbush valuation thumbWhat's a Sugarbush Worth?, (video) Robert Guay, Manager of Appraisal Services, Yankee Farm Credit

Proceedings of the 2016 Vermont Maple Conference



The 2016 International Maple Conference on 'Across The Fence'