Click title to read each report:
Status of Progress in Incorporating the IMSI Standard Grades Proposal into Federal and State/Provincial Maple Grades Regulations in the United States and Canada
Information Release from the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI)
Update Regarding Implementation of Standardized Maple Grading and Nomenclature in North America
Summary Report from the IMSI Board of Directors' Meeting
Location: Black Bear Inn, Orono, Maine
Date: Tuesday August 20, 2013
The International Maple Syrup Institute held their quarterly Board of Directors Meeting at the Black Bear Inn in Orono, Maine on Tuesday August 20th.. Kathy Hopkins had arranged for a voluntary tour of the Food Laboratory and Pilot Plant Facilities at the University of Maine on Monday August 19th. The IMSI Board of Directors meeting was attended by IMSI Directors and Alternate Directors with very good representation and dialogue. This summary is being provided in advance of more detailed formal minutes from the meeting, which will be distributed at a later date. Click here for a listing of the 2013 IMSI Board of Directors
IMSI Board of Director Replacements:
The Board of Directors passed motions such that Denis Lejoie will replace Jerry Kless as Director representative for Citadelle Cooperative until Jerry is able to assume this responsibility and Lyle Merrifield will replace Al Bolduc as IMSI Director representative for the Maine Maple Syrup Producers Association.
IMSI Financial Report :
IMSI Treasurer presented a quarterly financial report for the IMSI Board, which was accepted by the Board without amendment. The IMSI Treasurer and Executive Director continue to monitor the status of IMSI Expenditures in relation to the Work Program Planning Guideline which was developed for 2013 and approved by the IMSI Board of Directors. A financial monitoring committee comprised of Steve Selby, Gary Gaudette and Jacques Couture will conduct an annual review of the IMSI financials for the 2013 calendar year early in 2014.
IMSI Membership Report :
Most IMSI members who held a membership in 2012 renewed their membership for 2013 and several new members joined the Institute this year. The Executive Director will be contacting the few who have not yet re-joined with the hope that they will continue their membership. The IMSI will also be working to recruit new members with a focus on the few State Maple Producer Asssociations who have not yet joined as well as maple packers who have not yet joined the Institute. IMSI members will be asked to identify potential members to assist this recruitment.
Discussions Related to Supply and Demand of Maple Syrup:
The IMSI Board of Director representatives from both Canada and the United States reported on the supply and demand for maple syrup in the different state and provincial jurisdictions and the international marketplace .
It was reported by the IMSI earlier that a very good or bumper crop was experienced in all reporting states and provinces in 2013 with the production of lighter syrups being prevalent. This relates primarily to the generally cool weather, which occurred throughout the production season. It is estimated that the overall North American production of maple syrup in 2013 could have been as high as 170 million pounds. This record production is attributable to a combination of favourable weather conditions, expansion of the number of taps in some jurisdictions and higher average tap yields due to the adoption of modern equipment technologies. An estimated 120 million pounds of maple syrup was produced in Quebec, which surpassed the record production achieved in 2009 in that province. At present, there is about 40 million pounds of maple syrup in the Federation held reserve.
Generally, current markets for maple syrup were reported as very good to excellent in all states and provinces which reported at the Board meeting and there has been some very modest growth in overseas markets due in large measure to investments in market development made in recent years by the Canadian government, the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers as well as by maple producer cooperatives and packers with significant syrup exports overseas. Markets for maple syrup vary significantly among the different producing regions. For example, the Quebec maple industry relies heavily on exports of bulk maple syrup while Ontario sells about 85% of its production at retail within the province and imports as much as 40% of the syrup consumed in that province. Generally, smaller producing regions are able to market a larger proportion of their production at retail and capitalize on value added.
While current markets for syrup are very good and generally prices are stable, concern was expressed regarding the ability of markets to absorb large production increases. At present, the burden of regulating supply and demand within the maple syrup industry rests with the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers through the quota system and strategic reserves within that province. There has been significant expansion of number of taps in some jurisdictions in the US in recent years and recent reports of planning underway for significant expansion over the next few years. Concern was expressed by Board members that the north american and international markets may not be able to absorb large increases in production capacity in the medium and longer term. The prevailing sentiment from the meeting was that governments should not subsidize capital investments to expand maple syrup production capacity but rather focus investment assistance on market development both in North America and overseas. If this approach is emphasized there will be enhanced prospects for stable or increased prices for pure maple syrup and markets will be better able to absorb north american production capacity. The distinctive nutritional merits and potential health benefits of pure maple syrup combined with implementation of the Standard Definition, Grades & Nomenclature proposed by the IMSI should be fully utilized in future marketing efforts by IMSI members. An IMSI working group comprised of Mark Harran, Ray Bonenberg, Simon Trepanier, David Marvin and Dave Chapeskie was established to study this market supply and demand related issue and there will be further discussions on this topic during the IMSI meetings in Moncton,NB during the IMSI meetings in October in Moncton, NB .
IMSI’s Adulteration Testing Assistance Program:
For many years, IMSI has facilitated the testing of syrup samples in the international marketplace that have been suspected as being adulterated. All IMSI members are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the IMSI’s adulteration testing assistance if they suspect that syrup is adulterated anywhere in the world marketplace.
In 2013, two samples of syrup obtained overseas, which were suspected of adulteration, were submitted to Centre Acer and the University of Waterloo in Ontario for adulteration testing. The results from this testing verified that the samples were not adulterated.
For further information regarding the IMSI’s adulteration service, please contact the IMSI’s Executive Director, Dave Chapeskie.
Organic Certification Committee Report:
Kathy Hopkins Chair of the IMSI’s Organic Certification Committee reported on the status of Committee work. The Committee had prepared and distributed a draft chart showing differences between organic certification standards at the federal level in Canada and the United States as well as among the different States, which have their own standards. There is still some work to do in finalizing the comparison chart and it is expected that a final version will be ready for the IMSI Board of Directors Meeting in Moncton, New Brunswick in October. Generally, IMSI Board representatives are satisfied with the current organic certification standards and their administration and voted not to pursue harmonization of the US and Canadian Standards at this time.
Standard Grades And Nomenclature Update:
Dave Chapeskie, Chair of the IMSI Maple Syrup Grades and Nomenclature Committee updated the Board of Directors on the IMSI’s Standard Grades and Nomenclature initiative. The focus of discussions was on the status of related regulatory approvals in the United States and Canada, a proposed communiqué regarding implementation of the new grading standard and the need for new colour classification kits to accommodate the chance. A chart showing status of government action at the federal and state/provincial level in processing the IMSI proposal has been prepared. This chart together with a communiqué related to implementation of the maple grades standard proposed by the IMSI is appended to this meeting summary and will be posted on the IMSI website and will be submitted for publication in Maple Digest . These postings will be updated on a quarterly basis until government approvals for the changes are approved. The IMSI will be sharing the status of regulatory approvals with all parties who have expressed interested to-date in producing the new maple syrup colour classification kits. At present, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, Atkinson’s Maple Products (Ontario) and Lovibond International have indicated that they plan to carry the new colour classification kits. Centre Acer ‘s commercial subsidiary has also expressed interest in the possibility of carrying the new colour classification kits.
IMSI Nominations Committee(2014):
Richard Norman, Steve Selby and Dave Chapeskie will serve on the IMSI’s Nominations Committee for developing the slate of IMSI Director Nominees and the IMSI Executive Committee for 2014.
Misleading Labeling and Presentation of Syrup Products:
At recent IMSI Board of Directors meetings, there has been considerable discussion regarding the issue of misrepresentation in the marketplace both in North America and overseas of products using the word “maple” or words “maple syrup” and the inappropriate use of visuals taken from the maple industry. Many of these products contain no pure maple products. It was agreed that the IMSI should discuss various options for countering this situation and seek to become engaged in preventative action. Some options discussed to-date include pursuing Codex Alimentarius /or American Products Origin designation for the words “Maple” and/or “Maple Syrup”, use of social media to raise awareness among consumers, targeted lobbying as well as other strategies. It is believed that action to address this issue is central to the mandate of the IMSI and a group comprised of Richard Norman, Mark Harran, David Marvin, Simon Trepanier and Ray Bonenberg would work with Dave Chapeskie to developed some initial recommendations for IMSI Board to consider. These initial recommendations are summarized below and were accepted by the IMSI’s Board of Directors at their meeting on August 20th.
Other actions such as support for University Case Studies, engagement of the press and use of social media and engagement of politicians may be considered either by the IMSI or by IMSI members in collaboration with the IMSI. These potential actions will be discussed and considered further.
Development of a Position Paper for Invasive Exotic Insects:
In recent years, the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) and North American Maple Syrup Council (NAMSC) discussed and recognized the threats of invasive species to the maple syrup industry where detrimental species are allowed to establish in the hardwood (including maple) forests of Eastern North America. Governments in both the countries working with industry and community-based partners, have been successful in containment or eradication of Asian Long Horned Beetle (ALHB) to-date. Success has not been as great for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), where it is now well established and fairly widespread in the eastern US and Canada and is moving quickly. It is anticipated that most larger or mature ash trees will be affected in the next decade unless natural or introduced parasites begin to contain and diminish this pest in the near future. The loss of ash species will have a detrimental effect on the ecosystems in most sugar maple forests.
The IMSI Board of Directors and the North American Maple Syrup Council is interested and concerned about all invasive insects and other invasives in our maple and hardwood forests. The IMSI Board has agreed with the recommendation that the focus in developing an industry position statement should be on ALHB and the EAB. If other invasive species pose a significant threat to hardwood forests (incl. maple), now or in the future, the essence of a maple syrup industry position paper can be applied to these invasives. It was confirmed at the IMSI Board meeting that this paper should be developed in collaboration with other industry stakeholders in the agricultural and forest sectors.
After discussion and input from the IMSI Board of Directors, strong support was provided to proceed with the development of an IMSI Position Statement focused on Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer under the project leadership of Ray Bonenberg, IMSI Director representative from Ontario.
The framework for The Position Paper will largely follow the framework of Prevention, Detection, Response and Management/Adaptation as outlined below:
IMSI Sponsored Awards (2013):
Dave Chapeskie mentioned that the IMSI continues to sponsor two awards annually, the Golden Maple Leaf Award, which recognizes innovation in the North American and International Maple Syrup Industry, and the Lynn Reynolds Memorial Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding service and accomplishments of an individual for the North American/International Maple Syrup Industry.
The IMSI Members are strongly encouraged to submit nominations for the above referenced awards. IMSI Board members were reminded that award nominations in 2013 must be received by the IMSI’s Executive Director by no later than Saturday August 31st.
IMSI Sponsored Maple Grading School:
Kathy Hopkins provided the IMSI with an update regarding school Maple Grading School offerings over the past year and feedback on grading school participants. The Grading School was successfully delivered in Skowhegan, Maine in May 2013 and again in Cornwall, Ontario in July 2013. The Maple Grading School continues to be rated highly by course participants and the IMSI Board is strongly supportive of its continuation. The School now offers a component related specifically to enhancing course participant awareness regarding the IMSI Standard Grades and Nomenclature initiative, including the use of new temporary colour classification kits. Kathy Hopkins, Henry Marckres and Dave Chapeskie will be discussing ways of extending the reach of the Grading School with the School organizers as we go forward. This may include French language school offerings, the Train-the-Trainer model of awareness and education and perhaps other options. The IMSI Board of Directors attending the meeting and the IMSI Executive Director expressed their appreciation for the great work of Kathy Hopkins and Henry Marckres in continuing to deliver the Maple Grading School in Canada and the United States.
The IMSI members and others may learn more about the IMSI sponsored Grading School and its upcoming offerings by accessing the University of Maine – Cooperative Extension website with the following link: http://extension.umaine.edu/maple-grading-school/
Applicants for the grading school may register on-line.
If additional information is required please contact Kathy Hopkins at 207-474-9622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2013 and 2014 IMSI Board of Directors Meetings
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 Delta Beauséjour Hotel, Moncton, New Brunswick
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - Union of Agricultural Producers Building, Montreal, Quebec
Thursday May 8th, 2014-Holiday Inn, Burlington, Vermont
Tuesday August 5th, 2014 –TBD, Kingston, Ontario
2013 IMSI/NAMSC Annual Meetings
The 2013 Annual NAMSC-IMSI Meetings will be held from October 21-24th at Delta, Beauséjour, Moncton, N.B. The IMSI Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 24th. The Registration Form and other Meeting information are appended to this summary. Further details and information will be distributed to IMSI members when the IMSI’s Executive Director receives it. For further information, contact Yvon Poitras at email@example.com or Dave Chapeskie
Dave Chapeskie, R.P.F.,
Executive Director, International Maple Syrup Institute
August 31st, 2013