North Woodstock, NH – Nearly 120 members of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association from around the state gathered in North Woodstock, NH this past Saturday, July 9, 2016, to celebrate not only a successful 2016 sugaring season, but to set educational goals for the future.

The day-long gathering at Fadden’s General Store and Maple Sugar House included demonstrations of sugaring equipment from vendors across the Northeast as well as presentations from members of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association. Topics ranged from business to education as well as the science of the sugaring process.

In addition, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) served as the event’s key note speaker and Chuck Henderson, an aide for Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), also read a letter of support from Senator Shaeen. Both Senators acknowledged the efforts of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association and they announced bi-partisan support for an effort currently underway to force the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to take action against questionably labeled food manufacturers who claim to have maple as a component in their products. Ayotte stated during her remarks “Following a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration in May, I don’t believe the Agency is being aggressive enough. Rather than a regulatory fix, I believe a legislative one might be the ticket.”

Following a barbecue prepared by Woodstock Station, a popular North Woodstock Inn & Eatery, staff members from nearby Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Thornton, NH addressed the organization. The group shared information from several long term projects currently underway regarding the maple sugaring industry. One such topic presented by Doctoral candidate Rebecca Sanders Demotte from Boston College focused on the effects that diminishing snowfall is having on tree growth and longevity. “The lack of snow cover enhances the opportunity for the soil to freeze”, stated Demotte. “It’s been observed that Maple tree roots exposed to increased freezing have also exhibited a decrease in their ability to take on important nutrients.”

One of the key topics discussed by the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association during the summer gathering was education. Although a number of outreach programs at state fairs and schools throughout the state and region currently exist, the group would like to enhance these programs and determine ways in which they can increase their current reach into New Hampshire’s educational system.

In his closing remarks, Association President and event host Jim Fadden, a 6th generation maple producer himself and a life-long resident of North Woodstock, supported the association’s educational focus by stating “Although we’re able to celebrate what turned out to be a fantastic year for maple sugaring, we need to focus a major part of our efforts going forward on the future of this industry. This means educating and sharing more and more information with students in all grades – from elementary, middle and high school through the entire New Hampshire University system. The youth of New Hampshire are also the future of this industry and we can’t forget that.”

To learn more about the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, their mission or to learn more about the maple sugaring process, visit http://www.nhmapleproducers.com

Photo Credit: Ken Watson

The Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association are shown here with Senator Kelly Ayotte, (R-NH) at their recent summer meeting held at Fadden’s General Store & Maple Sugar House in North Woodstock, NH on Saturday, July 9, 2016. From L-R (front row): Nick Kosko – Director; Ben Fisk – Director; Senator Kelly Ayotte; Jim Fadden – President; Howard Pearl – Director; Dale Smith – Vice President; Sarah Fisher – Secretary. (back row) Bruce Treat – Treasurer; Skip Cilley – Director and Chris Olsen – Director.

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