February 3rd 2012
Summary from the IMSI Board of Directors Meeting
Location: South Burlington, Vermont
The International Maple Syrup Institute held their quarterly Board of Directors meeting in South Burlington, Vermont on Friday February 3rd, 2012. The meeting was well attended with 16 IMSI Directors, IMSI Advisors and others in attendance. This is intended to provide a summary of the meeting separate from the formal minutes. More detailed minutes will be prepared and distributed later.
Gary Gaudette advised those in attendance that Cynthia Sage, wife of the late Roger Sage from New York State had passed away recently. The IMSI will forward a card to the family to express condolences from the IMSI members.
Quarterly Financial Report and Annual Work Program Planning Guide:
IMSI Treasurer Steve Selby presented the IMSI’s Quarterly Financial Statement and Membership Renewal Report. The ending balance in the Canadian account was $8099.83 and in the US Account was $10, 968 as of January 31st, 2012. The balance in combined Canadian and US Special Project Funds is $10, 871.03. In addition to the IMSI’s membership dues increase in 2012, the IMSI will continue its voluntary project account and encourages member donations to this account. In addition, Dave Chapeskie with the assistance of Mark Harran will evaluate other possible fund raising mechanisms in 2012.
Dave Chapeskie presented an Annual Work Program Planning Guide for the 2012 calendar year using the format introduced and utilized in 2011. Annual expenditures in 2012 are projected at about $43, 000, a level similar to the projection for 2011. THE IMSI Board of Directors approved the 2012 Annual Work Program Guide and the Guide is appended to this summary.
Actual expenditure in 2011 was $38, 445 but a few 2011 expenditures were not processed for the end of the calendar year. The obvious gap between level of annual expenditures and income needs to be addressed and points out the importance of enhanced fund raising efforts.
Audit Committee Report:
Gary Gaudette and Tim Perkins conducted a review of the IMSI’s financials to December 2012. They found the financial statements and bookkeeping to be in order and the IMSI Board of Directors accepted their report.
Supply, Markets and Demand for Maple Syrup:
Anne-Marie Granger Godbout of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers provided an update focused primarily on the Supply, Markets and Demand for Maple Syrup in Quebec with specific reference to the bulk trade. The report shows minimum prices of bulk syrup by grade with an across the board increase in price of 3% to AA ($2.89), A ($2.89), B ($2.79), C ($2.87) and D ($2.52) based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and no increase for Industrial Grade Syrup. The report mentions that as of February 2nd, 2012, the Federation has an estimated 36.5 million pounds of syrup in their Strategic Reserve with about 42% of this syrup being certified organic. Inventories are available until March 31, 2012 with priority given to authorized buyers in the first round and all buyers afterward. Inventories will be closed for the harvest season but may re-open in July, if needed.
Proposal to Modernize the IMSI Website:
Dave Chapeskie presented a proposal to modernize the IMSI website. The IMSI Board of Directors approved that Cedar Lane Studio’s from Ontario would be assigned this work with a price ceiling of $2000. Dave Chapeskie, Ray Bonenberg, Kathy Hopkins and Karl Zander (to be confirmed with Karl) webmaster or the North American Maple Syrup Council (NA) website will review mock-ups of the new website.
Organic Certification Committee Presentation:
A comprehensive presentation of background information on Organic Certification of Maple Syrup in Canada and the United States was delivered by Eric Prud’Homme, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Annie St-Onge, Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Kathy Hopkins, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The purpose of the presentation was to provide the IMSI members with information on Organic Certification Standards for Maple Syrup and to help the IMSI Board decide if there is a role for the Institute in follow-up. Eric provided an overview and information related to federal level organic standards. Annie provided information regarding the scale of Organic Certification with emphasis on Quebec as well as a perspective from the Federation on organic certification programs. Kathy provided a summary of information, which she has compiled to-date on state-level organic certification standards in the United States. It was clear from the presentations that the federal Canadian Organic Certification Standard and State level standards contain comparable levels of detail but also have important differences. State level standards are the important reference for Organic Certifiers of maple syrup in the United States. A copy of all three presentations will be provided to the IMSI members following the Board meeting.
Following the three presentations, it was decided by the IMSI Board that the IMSI Organic Certification Committee should continue their work in consolidating background information on Organic Certification Standards in Canada and the US, since this information should be of interest and have utility for the IMSI members. In particular, additional statistics on the scale of organic certification and completing the work on consolidation of information on state-level organic certification standards in the US would be very desirable. No other specific commitment for follow-up or role for the IMSI has been decided at this time. It was confirmed that Kathy Hopkins would assume the role of Chairperson for the IMSI’s Organic Certification Committee effective Feb 3rd, 2012.
Pinnacle Foods Update:
IMSI President Richard Norman and Dave Chapeskie provided an update regarding the Pinnacle Foods tradedress and shelf-placement issues for their Log Cabin syrup product. Since Pinnacle Foods has chosen not to address the IMSI’s and North American Maple Syrup Council’s concerns, the IMSI Board directed that the IMSI Executive Director with the assistance of Mark Harran draft a letter to selected legislators in the US (names to be confirmed) making them aware of the issue and providing them with a copy of all letter communications with Pinnacle Foods.
Standardized Maple Grades and Nomenclature Report:
Dave Chapeskie, Chair of the IMSI’s Standardized Grades and Nomenclature Committee provided an update for the standardized grades project.
Awareness activities in both Canada and the United States. These efforts have focused primarily on maple syrup producers to assist understanding of the IMSI Standard Grades initiative. Contributors to this effort include Dave Chapeskie (IMSI), Yvon Poitras (French language designate), Ray Bonenberg (Ontario), Raymond Bernier (Quebec), Gary Graham (Ohio /Lake States), Henry Marckres (Vermont), Kathy Hopkins (Maine) and others. Recent reports from some of these individuals and others indicate a high level of support for the proposed changes. The importance and value of the awareness component of the IMSI’s plan leading to implementation of standard grades has been confirmed by this work. It is very apparent that once maple industry stakeholders understand the scope and benefits of the IMSI’s Standardization proposal they usually opt to support it.
Market Trial Exposure --
A limited number of operational level market trials will be conducted in 2012 with producers and packers both working with the new standard and exposing it to consumers in selected markets. The primary goal of this operational-level engagement with the new standard is to provide useful feedback from producers/packers and consumers which will assist full implementation of the standardized definition, grades and nomenclature proposed once regulatory approvals are obtained and other preparations have been finalized. This market exposure will range from setting up a static exhibit showcasing the proposed new standard to labeling of maple syrup using the new standard for sale in selected markets.
Monitoring Progress Regarding Regulatory Approvals --
The IMSI formally submitted its regulatory proposal for standardization to federal and state/provincial level regulatory authorities in Canada and the United States in September 2011. Follow-up activity has been most noticeable at the federal level with some activity at the state/provincial level as well. In the fall of 2011, the USDA assigned a staff person to work on changing USDA maple regulations and in Canada a motion has been introduced recently in the Canadian Senate to support the IMSI’s proposed changes. The IMSI is still reviewing progress at the state/provincial level and will report on the status to IMSI members once this has been more fully determined. The IMSI members are strongly encouraged to write individual letters of support to appropriate federal and state/provincial politicians and regulatory authorities to encourage government to give the IMSI’s request very high priority for follow-up.
Timing of Implementation --
The IMSI’s goal for implementation of the Standard Grades and Nomenclature continues to be the 2013 maple production season. However, regulatory approvals must be obtained, colour classification kits must be commercially available and other preparations must be completed before implementation can proceed. Based on progress to-date, it is probable that implementation may not be possible at least in some jurisdictions until the 2014 production season. Once regulatory approvals are obtained, it is expected that governments will allow for a transition period between using the current grades and the new standard to help facilitate the change. The IMSI will continue to report on progress made towards implementation to maple syrup industry stakeholders through the Maple Digest, the IMSI website and other venues.
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Maple Syrup Report:
Ray Bonenberg, Chair of the IMSI’s Nutrition and Health Benefits Committee reported on progress in finalizing deliverables for this project. The nutrition poster and rackcard files have been finalized and the IMSI will be completing one print run of these products. All IMSI members will be provided with several hard copies of these products by March 31st, 2012. Bulk orders from the IMSI print run will be available on a charge back basis (including shipping and taxes) until the supply is exhausted. Cost is approximatley.06c/ unit for bilingual rackcards (3in x 8in) and.18 c/unit for English/French language posters (11in x 17in).
The IMSI will also be producing a limited number of CD’s which will include the IMSI’s Position Statement, the Nutrition Poster and Rackcard, related scientific papers and other information. It is estimated that the CD’s will cost an estimated $3.00 per unit, which will vary with the size of the print run. Each IMSI member will receive one CD when they are available. IMSI members should advise Dave Chapeskie by Friday March 9th, if they are interested in a bulk order of the information CD’s.
The nutritional poster, rackcard and other information will also be available through the IMSI’s website once the site has been modernized (target April 1st 2012).
Asian Longhorned Beetle/Emerald Ash Borer-Industry Position Statement:
Ray Bonenberg, IMSI Director (Ontario) recommended that the IMSI working in collaboration with NAMSC develop a position statement focused on the need for appropriate government action, financial support and fiscal incentives required from government to help safeguard the maple industry from these very destructive insect pests. Ray distributed a draft outline of the proposed position statement at the meeting, which is appended to this summary. The IMSI Board of Directors approved that Ray with the assistance of Dave Chapeskie, Maple Advisors and maple Industry representatives proceed with this project. Ray will work with Dave to identify appropriate people to assist with this project. Ray cautioned that it may take as long as two years to complete this task.
Regulatory Agency Reports :
Eric Prud’Homme and Henry Marckres provided regulatory department reports for their respective departments. Eric mentioned the “Notice of Multi-Year Regulatory Modernization Plan for Consultation” of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This document can be accessed at http:www.inspection.gc.ca/english/reg/consultation/disce.shtml . Comments on this document must be provided to CFIAPROGRAMS-ACIAPROGRAMMES@inspection.gc.ca by February 21st,2012.Henry Marckres mentioned that the Vermont Agency of Agriculture,Food and Markets is working with the Vermont Maple Industry on a combined bill in the Senate for the proposed standard grade changes together with a voluntary certification program for maple producers. Further details from the regulatory reports will be included in the minutes from the Board meeting to be distributed later in February.
IMSI Sponsored Awards (2012):
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. It was agreed that the 2011 criteria for the two awards would apply without amendment in 2012. The IMSI members are strongly encouraged to submit nominations for the two awards for 2012. It is very important to recognize individuals, groups and maple enterprises for their important contributions to advancing the international maple syrup industry. For further information, contact Dave Chapeskie.
IMSI Sponsored Maple Grading School:
Kathy Hopkins reported on the IMSI sponsored maple grading school. Participants in the schools continue to rate highly the educational experience offered.
IMSI members may learn about the Grading School and its offerings by accessing the University of Maine –Cooperative Extension website with the link provided below.
IMSI Board of Directors Meetings (May and August 2012):
The next IMSI Board of Directors meeting will be held at the American Maple Museum in Croghan, New York on Friday May 18th, 2012. Please contact Dave Chapeskie, Executive Director, IMSI, if you require additional information.
The August 2012 IMSI Board of Directors meeting will be hosted by Centre Acer in Quebec and will be held on Thursday August 9th, 2012 with location to be confirmed.
The October 2012 IMSI Annual Board of Directors meeting will be held at the Mystic Marriott Hotel in Mystic, Connecticut on Monday October 22nd , 2012.
NAMSC-IMSI Annual Meetings (2012 and 2013):
The 2012 Annual NAMSC-IMSI Meetings will be held from Monday October 22nd to Thursday October 25th at the Mystic Marriot Hotel in Mystic Connecticut. The IMSI’s Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday October 23rd from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. For further information, contact Richard Norman at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2013 Annual NAMSC-IMSI Meetings will be held from October 21-24 th at Delta Beauséjour, Moncton N.B. For further information, contact Yvon Poitras at email@example.com
NAMSC-IMSI Planning Aid Document for Annual Meetings:
Since the NAMSC and IMSI distributed a document intended to assist planning of the NAMSC-IMSI Annual meetings from year-to-year there has been some concern regarding words such as “directive” and “guideline” used to label the document. In view of this concern, the IMSI’s Executive Committee has recommended that use of these words be eliminated from the document and that hereafter the document be labelled a “Planning Aid” which better reflects the intent of both the NAMSC and the IMSI.
Dave Chapeskie, R.P.F.,
Executive Director, International Maple Syrup Institute