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Governor LePage Promotes Maple Sugar Season with Annual Tree Tapping
March 5, 2014
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today joined Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, Legislators and Maine Maple Producers on the Blaine House lawn for an annual tradition – the tapping of a maple tree. The event coincides with the beginning of maple syrup season and helps promote the industry. This year’s event was buoyed by the results of a new study highlighting the economic impact of Maine’s Maple Industry.
“Maine’s maple industry contributes an estimated $27.7 million directly to the Maine economy,” said Governor LePage. “The new study also shows that Maine’s maple industry has an annual statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of an estimated $48.7 million in output, 805 full- and part-time jobs and $25.1 million in labor income. Most importantly, this industry has a huge potential for additional job creation.”
Other key findings of the study by University of Maine Professor of Economics Todd Gabe:
Maine has the third largest maple industry in the United States.
Maine’s maple industry is characterized by a relatively small number of farms accounting for the vast majority of syrup that is produced.
Maine’s licensed maple syrup producers have been in operation an average of 24 years, and many of the farms appear to span multiple generations.
Maine’s maple industry—which counts the licensed producers, and sales at retail food stores and businesses impacted by Maine Maple Sunday—generates 567 full- and part-time jobs, and $17.3 million in labor income.
[The study was funded through a partnership between the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, University of Maine, and the Maine Maple Producers Association.]
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb noted the support that Maine’s maple industry receives from a variety of sources. “Governor LePage, the Legislature and particularly Representative Black (R-Wilton), all recognize the significance of Maine’s rural economy,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “Today’s tree-tapping event is symbolic of the broad-based support our maple industry receives and demonstrates how Maine can have multiple uses of its natural resources – maple syrup, wood production, recreation and open space.”
The Blaine House tapping event also serves as a prelude to Maine Maple Sunday, which is held every year on the fourth Sunday of March. This year, Maine Maple Sunday will celebrate its 31st Anniversary on March 23, with approximately 100 sugarhouses participating throughout Maine. Sugarhouses will be open for visitors to enjoy syrup and candy sampling, demonstrations of making syrup, sugarbush tours, and a variety of other activities.