By Laura Ginsburg, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
The Agriculture Development Division is excited to announce the launch of maple focused market development work after receiving nearly $500,000 from the USDA Acer Access and Development program. The Acer program targets funds to states with an active maple industry and can be used for two areas: Market Development and Promotion or Producer and Landowner Education. The USDA funded six applications nationally, and the Agency’s was one of two focusing on market development. This is the first time the Agency has received this funding stream.
Vermont’s maple production represents more than 46% of total U.S. production, while only tapping around 3% of available trees. Over the past decade, technology improvements have increased maple production over 165% but at the same time bulk prices have decreased significantly. Official trade statistics show that Vermont producers were hardest hit when exports declined during 2016-2017 – Vermont made up $3.5 million of the $4.7 million national decline in export revenues.
The Acer funding will allow the Agency to focus on national and international market development, working to diversify beyond the Canadian market for product sales. Producers in Vermont are creating innovative, new items that diversify the role maple plays for consumers – from spirits and sodas to sports drinks and savory additions. Acer will help broaden the appeal of traditional maple syrup and new products to a diverse audience.
Acer funding will focus on:
- Public relations campaign – includes exploring markets for expanding maple, which maple attributes will appeal to broader trends, and showcasing these qualities to media and influencers to share the story more broadly;
- Online advertising;
- Strategic Marketing plan for the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association;
- Agritourism development of maple and sugar bushes into a year-round destination; and,
- International trade mission.
As maple is an iconic and integral facet of Vermont’s agricultural and forest economy, the Agency is excited to conduct work that will ensure our state’s producers remain at the forefront of the marketplace.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Laura Ginsburg by phone 802-522-2252 or by email Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org