Ohio’s Maple Production – A Sweet Business

Ohio has a long history of maple syrup production. 

According to the Ohio Maple Producers Association, there are 12 maple-producing states in the United States and each year Ohio is ranked 4th or 5th in maple production. As the location of former glaciers, Ohio’s soil has the perfect mix of minerals and soil type for maple production. Maple trees are grown in both the northern and southern regions of the state and while the growing season may differ by three to four weeks, both produce a lot of syrup.

Ohio Maple Production Facts
  • The maple industry contributes $5 million to Ohio’s economy each year.
  • Ohio ranked in the top five nationally in 2013 producing 155,000 gallons, an increase of more than 50 percent from the 100,000 gallons produced in 2012.
  • About 900 producers across the state continue to innovate the maple production process.
  • Demand for maple products is greater than the state’s production. 
  • Ohio's maple syrup is a “super food” that has many health benefits naturally provided by antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
Growing Ohio, an annual publication by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, adds that
agritourism also plays a role in the state’s maple success. Pancake breakfasts and maple syrup festivals throughout the state attract tourists and encourage them to purchase products and celebrate Ohio’s maple legacy.

For maple producers, the Ohio State University Extension will be hosting the 2014 Ohio Maple Days this week. Workshops are scheduled January 23 in Morrow County, January 24 for Wayne and Holmes counties and January 25 in Geauga County. A new international grading system for maple syrup and the Food and Drug Administration’s new food safety requirements for maple syrup producers will be two of the featured topics. For more information visit http://agnr.osu.edu/2014-ohio-maple-days.

Are you an Ohio maple producer? How do you enjoy Ohio’s maple production?

Photo obtained from: www.richardsmapleproducts.com

What's Ahead for Agriculture?

Here’s a snapshot of the issues and trends that could impact U.S. agriculture during 2014.

Policy Issues
Farm Bill: 
According to the American Farm Bureau, after a two-year delay, a new farm bill is expected to be complete in early 2014. This will provide some much-needed clarity for the U.S. agricultural industry, particularly concerning crop insurance and subsidies.

Water Regulations: 
Another legislative issue on tap for next year includes possible new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pertaining to water usage and management on farms and ranches.

According to American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman, the EPA is attempting to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act, which could have serious and detrimental impacts on U.S. agriculture.

“If the EPA proposal were put in place, you could not discharge into any covered water unless you had a federal permit,” said Stallman in The Country Today. “In essence you as farmers and ranchers would have to have a permit relative to water and runoff for anything you wanted to do on your land.”

Land Costs
The value of farmland has risen in recent years throughout most of the Midwest. In Ohio, cropland value rose 12 percent in 2013, with bare cropland averaging $5,600 an acre, according to Barry Ward with the Ohio State University Extension in Farm and Dairy. Ward stated in Farm and Dairy that prices will be flat or fall in 2014. The forecast is expected to be the same for farmland nationwide.

“We’re at a point where land values are going to quit rising so rapidly,” said Terry Kastens, an agricultural economist in a Bloomberg article. “Prices will probably flatten out and may even fall back 10 percent or so, but we’re not going to see a crash.”

Low Prices
The Bucyrus Telegraph Forum recently reported that soybean and corn prices are expected to remain low in 2014, which means farmers might have to stretch profits from 2013 into the new year.

“It’s clear that commodities markets are not going to have the kind of strength in 2014 that they’ve had the past few years,” said Joe Cornely with the Ohio Farm Bureau. “In particular, there’s a retrenchment in corn prices.”

What 2014 agricultural issues and trends are on your mind? Please share your thoughts.

Photo obtained from www.americanfarminvestors.com.