Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced the Supporting All Producers (SAP) Act, legislation to require the United States Department Agriculture (USDA) to consult with maple producers when determining education and research priorities for the Acer Access and Development Program (Acer). Acer is a competitive grant program, supporting research and education related to maple syrup production and sustainability in the maple syrup industry. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Becca Balint (D-VT) and Nick Langworthy (R-NY).
“Maple syrup production is a cornerstone of Vermont’s economy and culture—but it’s a challenging business and only getting more so as climate change continues to alter our environment and impact yields,” said Sen. Welch. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce the SAP Act. This bill will give our maple syrup producers a voice in the decision-making at Acer and help producers continue to create this world class Vermont product.”
“Maine has a rich and storied tradition of producing some of the most exceptional maple syrup in the world,” said Sen. Collins. “This important bipartisan legislation will ensure that the voices of our maple syrup producers are heard in determining allocations under the Acer Access and Development Program. By requiring the USDA to consult with these hardworking individuals, we can prioritize research and education initiatives that directly support the growth and sustainability of our beloved maple syrup industry.”
“Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, making it an integral part of our economy and culture,” said Rep. Becca Balint. “Setting clear education and research priorities are fundamental to the future of the maple industry and none of that can be done without the input of maple producers themselves. I’m proud to work with bipartisan partners across the region to support our maple industry.”
“Maple syrup producers across the country rely on the Acer Access and Development Program and as we seek to reauthorize this program in this year’s Farm Bill, it’s the perfect time to improve upon its goals with a bottom-up approach from stakeholders,” said Rep. Langworthy. “This legislation will ensure the limited research and development dollars dedicated to the production of maple syrup are used in the most effective, efficient way to help sustain and grow this critical American industry.”
The Acer Access and Development Program funds research and education initiatives on maple syrup production, natural resource sustainability, and marketing for maple products. The program also works with landowners to begin or expand maple-sugaring activities or to make the land available for others to do so.
To learn more about Acer, please click here. To read the full text of the bill, please click here.