U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that they secured a $1 million increase in funding for the Acer Access and Development Program, for a total of $4 million in funding, in the just-passed Senate minibus Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that the Acer Access and Development Program provides opportunities for investment and research for maple syrup, helping producers across Upstate New York increase their production, strengthen conservation and drive efficiency in maple sugaring. Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country, and the senators said that the increase in funding will allow U.S. producers to better compete in the global marketplace with countries like Canada, which are responsible for 85 percent of the world’s maple product. The senators said they worked tirelessly for this funding to tap into New York’s burgeoning maple industry, and vowed to shepherd it through Congress and onto the president’s desk.
“This critical funding will bring a much-deserved boost to New York’s maple syrup producers, helping them tap into the state’s massive potential,” said Senator Schumer. “The increase in federal funds would be used to help Upstate producers increase their production, strengthen conservation, drive efficiency in maple sugaring, and increase global competitiveness. I’m proud of the role I played in securing this federal funding in the Senate, and will continue to fight to ensure this funding increase is signed into law as soon as possible.”
“New York is one of the leading maple-producing states in the nation, and these federal funds will help our state’s maple industry grow even more,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Our Upstate maple producers are working tirelessly to increase production and expand to new markets, and I was proud to fight for this funding that will allow the Acer Program to provide this critical support. New York has one of our country’s best agriculture traditions, and I will always do everything I can to make sure our producers have the resources they need to succeed.”
Maple syrup is an important agricultural product across 10 states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. According to the USDA, in 2017, the United States produced more than 4.27 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $147 million. 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 seen significant growth in recent years. New York State ranks second in the nation for maple production, behind Vermont, with 806,000 gallons of maple syrup produced in 2018, according to New York State.
Schumer and Gillibrand have long fought on behalf of Upstate New York’s maple producers. Schumer’s legislation, the Maple Tapping Access Program, which later became the Acer Access and Development Program, was signed into law as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. Earlier this year, Schumer and Gillibrand worked to include language reauthorizing the Acer program as part of the 2018 Senate Farm Bill, and vowed to continue to fight to ensure that this provision is included in the final version of the Farm Bill.