Press Release

Welch, Collins Introduce Bicameral, Bipartisan ‘MAPLE Act’ to Increase Seniors’ Access to Locally Sourced Maple Products, Expand Market for Producers🍁

Mar 14, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined U.S. Representatives Nick Langworthy (R-N.Y.-23) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02) in leading their colleagues in the bicameral, bipartisan introduction of the Making Agricultural Products Locally Essential (MAPLE) Act, legislation that supports the maple industry by providing a new market for maple syrup producers while increasing seniors’ access to nutritious, locally sourced maple syrup products. The MAPLE Act would add maple syrup to the eligible products under the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which gives low-income seniors access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.  

“For Vermonters, maple syrup runs thicker than blood—it’s long been a cornerstone of our state’s culture and our economy,” said Senator Welch. “The MAPLE Act will help seniors in Vermont and across America tap into the nutritious, locally-sourced, world-class maple our state is so proud of, expand the market for maple producers, and boost our local economy.” 

“Maine is the third largest producer of pure maple syrup in the country, producing more than 575,000 gallons in a normal season, and bringing in more than $55 million to our state each year while supporting hundreds of local jobs,” said Senator Collins. “Allowing maple syrup to be purchased under the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is a win for our seniors, maple product producers, and Maine’s economy.” 

“Every year, Western New York and the Southern Tier produce thousands of gallons of natural maple syrup,” said Rep. Langworthy. “I’m proud to lead the bipartisan MAPLE Act with Senators Welch and Collins, and Congressman Courtney to give our hardworking maple producers a fair shake. By adding local maple syrup to the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, we’re not only boosting our regional economy but also ensuring that our seniors have access to nutritious, locally sourced products.” 

“The Seniors Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) has long helped seniors afford fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs from their local farmers markets. Now, Representative Langworthy, Senator Welch, Senator Collins, and I are working to expand the program to allow local maple syrup to be purchased with SFMNP benefits.” said Rep. Courtney. “The MAPLE Act would help seniors afford high-quality local maple syrup while supporting Connecticut’s excellent maple syrup producers. I look forward to working with my colleagues and our maple syrup producers to see this bill advanced in Congress.” 

Senators Welch and Collins are leading the introduction of the bill in the Senate and are joined by original cosponsors Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).  

“From the maple forests of the North Country to the sugar shacks of the Southern Tier, maple syrup runs deep in the roots of Upstate NY’s history and culture. Adding maple syrup produced by local Upstate farmers to the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a win-win, helping our seniors – who will tap into delicious, locally produced made-in-New York maple syrups from the farmers market – and our maple agricultural producers – who can expand their impact on the sweet mix of NY’s economy,” said Senator Schumer. “The MAPLE Act is the key ingredient to not only getting locally-produced maple syrup to the top of our seniors’ grocery lists, but to helping our Empire State maple syrup producers reach a new market and thrive. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation,which will generate sweet results for New York seniors, agricultural producers and our economy, and will always fight to support locally-produced agricultural products for New Yorkers.” 

The MAPLE Act is endorsed by the International Maple Syrup Institute, New York State Maple Producers Association, North American Maple Syrup Council, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, and Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association. 

Senator Welch has consistently demonstrated support for maple production. Last year, Senators Welch and Collins introduced the Supporting All Producers (SAP) Act, legislation to require the U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) to consult with maple producers when determining education and research priorities for the Acer Access and Development Program (Acer), a competitive grant program supporting research and education related to maple syrup production and sustainability in the maple syrup industry.  

Learn more about the bill. 

Read the full text of the bill.