Press Release

Welch Discusses Agricultural and Economic Benefits of Maple Industry  with Vermont Sugarmakers 

Apr 25, 2024

SHELBURNE, VT – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) spoke with Vermont Sugarmakers at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, about the agricultural, cultural and economic benefits of Vermont’s maple industry. As the largest maple producer in the United States, Vermont’s maple industry provides employment opportunities and economic benefits for rural communities. 

“Vermont is the gold standard around the world for maple, and it all starts right here at places like Shelburne Farms. Maple is at the heart of our state’s culture, history, and economy. It’s a tradition that most Vermonters have enjoyed their entire lives. Sugarmakers like Shelburne Farms work hard to carry on that tradition with innovative programs to tackle climate change, educate students about the science of maple, and increase access to maple products in Vermont schools,” said Senator Welch. “Congress must pass legislation that supports our maple industry to ensure Vermont’s sugarmakers can continue to produce maple for folks to enjoy for generations to come.” 

Senator Welch was joined by representatives from the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Assocation and Shelburne Farms. 

In March, Senator Welch introduced 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.  

Senators Welch and Susan Collins (R-Maine) 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.). U.S. Representatives Nick Langworthy (R-N.Y.-23) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02) introduced companion legislation in the House. 

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. 

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.