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Ritchie Helps Kick-off Maple Season

State Senator Patty Ritchie attended a ceremonial tree-tapping, invited farmers to showcase their wares and tout the future of their industry, and announced a schedule of public events to mark the start of maple “sugaring season” in New York State.

Pictured from left are: Sarah Rastley, St. Lawrence County Maple Princess Alternate, New York State Maple Queen Deidra Hill, Senator Ritchie, St. Lawrence County Maple Princess Kylea McAdam and St. Lawrence County Maple Princess Alternate Megan Parkman.
Pictured from left are: Sarah Rastley, St. Lawrence County Maple Princess Alternate, New York State Maple Queen Deidra Hill, Senator Ritchie, St. Lawrence County Maple Princess Kylea McAdam and St. Lawrence County Maple Princess Alternate Megan Parkman.

Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, joined in a tree-tapping ceremony at the Kenny family’s Sweet Creations maple farm in Madrid on Saturday.

On Tuesday, she will be joined at a meeting of the Senate Agriculture Committee by representatives of the New York Maple Producers Association, and update them on her efforts to gain increased state funding for promotion of maple products, as well as research to help grow the industry.

On Monday, the Senate was expected to give its approval to plans for an increase in state funding, which had previously been cut from the budget, for maple growers.

It’s the third year that senator Ritchie has successfully pushed for maple funding in the state budget.

“Maple growers are increasingly important to our state’s agricultural industry, responsible for tens of millions of dollars in sales and revenue every year,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’ve been working to call attention to this important sector of our agriculture industry, and highlighting the potential for growth in a state where just 2 percent of our available maple trees are currently being used to produce syrup. I’m looking forward to hearing from producers their ideas on ways to grow the industry and help strengthen the bottom lines for hardworking New York farm families.”

According to recent numbers, New York is the #2 state after Vermont for maple production, responsible for 20 percent of all U.S. production.

In addition, the value of maple syrup and other maple products in New York State was $22 million in 2011.

Senator Ritchie has released a schedule of “Maple Weekend” events for the next two weeks at farms across Central and Northern New York, where the public can learn about the art of maple sugaring, enjoy community breakfasts, and purchase fresh-made maple products directly from the source.

The full schedule is available at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov