Info and Resources
Energy Grants, Rebates and Loan Programs for Vermont Maple Sugar Makers
A number of grant, loan, and rebate programs exist for Vermont Maple Sugar Makers. Below you’ll find an up-to-date list of such programs to help with upgrades to your sugarhouse that can help save energy.
USDA Rural Development – Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
Provides loan guarantees and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements, including energy efficient technologies such as Reverse Osmosis systems and other technologies for maple sugar makers. Grants for up to 25% of total eligible project costs and loan guarantees on loans up to 75% of total eligible project costs may be available. Applications must be received by October 31 for this round of grant funding. Contact Ken Yearman, Loan Specialist and Energy Coordinator VT/NH, by phone (802-828-6070) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Efficiency Vermont – Agricultural Energy Efficiency Maple Reverse Osmosis Rebates
Rebates of up to $3,250 for Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems. Must be a first-time RO purchase for an existing Vermont sugaring operation. Available to qualifying producers with more than 100 gallons of syrup produced in 2016. Equipment must be purchased and delivered by November 30, 2016. For additional information, please contact Efficiency Vermont’s Customer Support Team by phone ((888) 921-5990) or email (info@EfficiencyVermont.com).
Vermont Electric Cooperative – ECOVAP Incentives
Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) has a variety of financial incentives available to work with maple sugaring operations to reduce the use of fossil fuels for their members. These incentives could apply to new eco evaporators or line extensions, and they may vary based on individual circumstances. People who are interested should call VEC (800) 832-2667 to explore available incentives.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Agricultural Energy Management Plans (Ag-EMPs)
Financial assistance is available for site-specific energy audits of eligible farmsteads, including maple sugaring operations. AgEMPs are completed by NRCS-certified Technical Service Providers and are facilitated through the help of NRCS field office staff. To learn more, contact Bob Kort, VT NRCS Energy Coordinator, by phone ((802) 951-6796 x233) or email (Bob.Kort@vt.usda.gov).
FDA Registration of Sugarhouses
Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which granted broad new authority to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), all facilities that process food for human consumption must register with the FDA. Based on the law, boiling maple sap to create syrup is “processing” as defined by the Food Safety Modernization Act.
There are two instances where you would not need to register:
1) If all of the syrup is consumed on-site, or
2) You sell only raw, unprocessed sap
Any change made to sap, even using an RO, would trigger the definition of “processing” which would mean you would need to register your business with the FDA.
Registration is free and it is important that you be aware of businesses that ask you to pay for expediting your registration. These websites and businesses are highly deceptive and will appear similar to the FDA website. VMSMA cautions you to not pay for a registration as the registration process can be done without payment.
Registration can be accomplished either online through the FDA’s website or by submitting a hard copy form.
Information about online registration can be found HERE:
To download the form as a PDF, please click HERE:
A sample form has been created that shows the section that should be filled out for most maple syrup producers. That sample form can be found HERE but please keep in mind that this is meant to reflect the average operation and that you should pay attention to all the areas on the form as some may apply depending on your business.
The North American Maple Syrup Producers’ Manual
The 2006 North American Maple Syrup Producers’ Manual, published by Ohio State University, is only available as a PDF download. This edition contains contributions from twenty educators, researchers and maple producers from all across the maple region. The manual has 329 pages and contains 13 chapters, 5 appendices and more than 150 illustrations. The information in this manual will be helpful to all producers whether you are just a beginner or an experienced maple producer or if you just want to learn more about the maple industry.
For more information or to order the download, please visit the Ohio State University Extension eStore HERE.
Entering Maple Syrup and Products At Fairs
The time is here when fairs and field days are starting. Here are a few tips on entering your maple products to get the best results in the contests.
Maple Syrup – the most important thing to remember is check it before you send it!! Grade your syrup as if you were the judge—check the four basics—color, clarity, density and flavor. You don’t want to be “surprised” by the sample you submit. Also, make sure you use a new container; used containers can contaminate even the best syrups.
Maple Products—this year, a significant amount of light colored syrup was made near the end of the season. This syrup usually has a high invert sugar level, meaning your products will not have the right consistency or create a small enough crystal to be rated well in the contests. Make some small test batches before you make your entry in order to be sure you are submitting your very best product.
If you have questions, feel free to contact me at 802-828-3458 or your Extension Maple Specialist.
Henry J. Marckres
Chief, Consumer Protection / VT Agency of Agriculture