Leahy-Led Funding Nets $1.45 Million For Vermont Maple Research And Education

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced $1,448,371 in grants to the University of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets to expand market opportunities and support research and education in the maple industry.  Vermont’s three grants, awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Acer Access and Development Program (Acer) account for more than half of the grants awarded nationally this year.

Leahy is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a leading member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he has long led in championing Vermont’s maple industry.  Leahy said:  “As the country’s largest producer of maple sugar, Vermont is the gold standard in quality and innovation for the entire industry.  These investments will help Vermont sugarmakers develop new markets and techniques and to build on our producers’ and our state’s extensive and considerable maple expertise.  And maybe other states like New York, that make very good syrup, can learn a thing or two from the best.” 

Welch, who wrote authorizing language for the House of Representatives’ 2014 Farm Bill, said: "Maple syrup and those who produce it are part of the fabric of Vermont. Their trade goes back generations and is an important part of our economy as well as a key defining characteristic of our state brand. These investments in the maple industry will ensure it remains a strong part of Vermont's economy and identity for generations to come."

The Acer program was created as part of the 2014 Farm Bill that Leahy helped to craft and enact, Welch introduced the funding authorization in the House.  As Appropriations Vice Chairman, Leahy advanced $3 million to support these grants this year and worked for an increase to  $4 million for the program in the Senate’s fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill.   

This year’s grants will help fund the development of a new, comprehensive manual for maple syrup producers (which has not been updated in more than a decade), support maple forest business development, and develop new markets for Vermont maple products by increasing consumer awareness domestically and abroad.  Grant details are available HERE: https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/2018DescriptionOfFundedProjectsAcer.pdf

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