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Maple syrup farmers look to tap into state's potential growth

A group of local farmers are asking the state for support to help make Michigan a global force in the maple syrup industry.


A

group of local farmers are asking the state for support to help make
Michigan a global force in the maple syrup industry.


M

ichigan has more than 275 million sugar maple trees ready to be tapped

, but less than 1% are being used each year for syrup production.


C

raig
Waldron is the largest maple syrup producer in the state. His farm, Far Hills Maple Syrup, in Alanson has more than 28 thousand maple tree taps.


"

Michigan has more maple trees than all of Quebec does just by itself and
Quebec makes 85-88% of syrup in the world," Waldron said.


He

says he is tired of watching
Canada dominate the industry, when there is plenty of untapped potential right here in the state.


"

We only
tap less than two tenths of 1% of the available maple trees that the state has," Waldron said.


W

aldr

o

n chairs the
Commercial Maple Syrup Producers of Michigan organization, which recently received a $10,000 grant from the state to pursue a study about the possible growth of the industry.


"

If Michigan was even to go to the level of utilization of Vermont does it would grow Michigan

'

s industry by millions and millions and millions of dollars

," Waldron said.


S

tudies show that if
Michigan farmers just tapped 3% of the state's trees, they would make nearly $80 million a year. Which would dwarf Vermont, that at the same rate makes $30 million annually.


"

Vermont has just done a lot better job as a state of promoting the industry and that's one of the things we hope to change

," Waldron said.


T

h

e

grant is part of a
$2.5 million program set up to expand Michigan's agriculture industry.

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