LD 1178 is a bill to implement the recommendations of the Maple Syrup Task Force. a bill to support. The late Steve Coleman represented MFPC and the forest products industry on the task force and – in fact the task force report is dedicated to him – and we heartily support its recommendations. The ACF Committee voted April 28 to hold the bill over until the 2016 session to allow the task force to explore some of the comments received.
Since the task force report came out, though, we’ve seen even more evidence of the important role maple producers play in Maine’s economy, thanks to a 2014 economic impact study conducted by Todd Gabe, professor of economics at the University of Maine, who also conducted the economic impact study on the forest products industry for MFPC.
Maine’s maple industry generates an annual direct contribution to the state’s economy of an estimated $27.7 million in output, 567 full- and part-time jobs, and $17.3 million in labor income. It 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.
The economic impact study also found that an estimated 120,000 people visited farms on Maine Maple Sunday in 2013, to enjoy syrup boiling demonstrations, free samples, farm tours and tractor rides.
LD 1178 proposes a Maine Maple Syrup Promotion Board so more people can learn about and enjoy maple products. The state needs this board to take a leadership role in research, communications, and investment to promote this iconic industry. Another bill, LD 110, which would designate maple syrup as the “Official State Sweetener,” was reported out of the ACF Committee on April 10 Ought to Pass as Amended.
Like all Maine’s forest products, this is a renewable resource and, as a recent Press Herald story highlighted, there are so many, many ways to enjoy it.