MIL-OSI USA: Congressman Langworthy Introduces Bipartisan MAPLE Act to Expand Access to Locally Sourced Maple Syrup

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Making Agricultural Products Locally Essential (MAPLE) Act to support 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. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) co-led the MAPLE Act in the House, and Senators Peter Welch (D-VT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced companion legislation in the Senate today.

“Every year, Western New York and the Southern Tier produce thousands of gallons of natural maple syrup,” said Congressman 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 Congressman 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.”

“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.”

Other co-sponsors in the House include Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Brandon Williams (R-NY), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Tom Tiffany (R-WI).

The MAPLE Act is also supported by the New York Farm Bureau, New York State Maple Producers Association, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, North American Maple Syrup Council, International Maple Syrup Institute, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association, Ohio Maple Producers Association, Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut.

“New York farmers are looking for new market opportunities to help their bottom line, and expanding the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program to include maple syrup would be helpful. It could open the door for other New York farm products, like dairy, eggs, and cider, to be included in the federal program. Not only would this increase demand, but it would also help older New Yorkers purchase more fresh, local products. New York Farm Bureau thanks Rep. Langworthy for his sponsorship of the bill and his support for New York’s family farms,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.

Helen Thomas, Executive Director for the New York State Maple Producers Association, said, “New York State has a large number of family farms that make maple syrup and sell it to the public at their local farmer’s markets. The ability for seniors to use their SNAP vouchers to buy locally produced maple syrup will be appreciated by both the consumers and the farmers.”

“NOFA-NY applauds Congressman Langworthy’s efforts to expand the options that Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program enrollees have when using their coupons on local products,” said Katie Baildon, Policy Manager for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc. (NOFA-NY).“Enabling program participants to use coupons as they choose, including on NY’s treasured maple products, allows them to bring home products that they may not otherwise be able to select. This legislation would also allow maple producers to extend their delicious products to more members of their community while being fairly compensated.” 

Read the full text of the bill here.

 

Key Background on Maple Syrup Production in NY-23:

  • NY-23 is home to 285 maple farms, with 418,434 maple taps in trees producing 98,594 gallons of maple syrup a year.

By County:

  • Erie: 40,330 taps; 9,748 gallons of syrup; 42 maple farms
  • Chautauqua: 64,688 taps; 16,020 gallons of syrup; 43 maple farms
  • Cattaraugus: 100,515 taps; 15,047 gallons of syrup; 37 maple farms
  • Allegany: 57,417 taps; 16,060 gallons of syrup; 56 maple farms
  • Steuben: 83,385 taps; 17,173 gallons of syrup; 73 maple farms
  • Schuyler: 65,678 taps, 22,389 gallons of syrup; 25 maple farms
  • Chemung: 6,421 taps; 2,157 gallons of syrup; 9 maple farms

*All data provided by the most recent USDA Ag Census (2022).

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