June 8th 2011
International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) Activity Update
Date: June, 2011
This meeting of IMSI was held in at the American Maple Museum in Croghan, New York on May 20th, 2011. The meeting was chaired by Richard Norman, President of IMSI and was well attended by IMSI Directors, other IMSI members and guests. Meeting highlights included discussions regarding the 2011 North American Maple Crop as well as updates regarding steps towards implementation of the IMSI’s standard grades and nomenclature proposal and maple nutritional project.
IMSI Financials and 2011 Annual Work Program Plan:
Steve Selby, IMSI Treasurer presented the IMSI’s quarterly financial statements which provide balance sheets for Canadian and US accounts separately. The financial statement was accepted by IMSI’s Board as presented. Copies of the IMSI’s approved Annual Work Plan for 2011/12 were also available at the meeting so that revenues and expenditures could be reviewed with reference to the plan.
IMSI’s investments in research and important projects such as adulteration monitoring, standardized grades initiative, nutritional benefits and others have been significant. While annual membership has grown in recent years, dues revenues are not keeping pace with overall expenditures. Consequently, IMSI’s Board of Directors opted to establish a separate voluntary project account for 2011. Projects that involve a financial commitment on behalf of IMSI are:
** Standard International Maple Grades
** Nutritional and Health Benefits Information
** Adulteration Monitoring
** Misleading Advertising
** Sulfite Evaluation
** Maple Grading School
Other important project initiatives may emerge over the next several years.
Since the February Board of Directors meeting, a total amount of $7150 has been contributed by the IMSI and non-IMSI members to the special project account. These funds are being kept separate from the balance sheets. Contributors to the special project fund to-date are thanked and IMSI members are strongly encouraged to consider a contribution at least to the level of their annual membership dues. A reminder letter will be sent to all IMSI members regarding the importance of this fund.
Steve Selby provided a listing of both paid and unpaid memberships in Canada and the United States (separately) for 2011. The report indicates that there are 29 paid US members and 15 Canadian members. The IMSI’s Executive Director will look into several who have not renewed their membership to-date. The IMSI has recently prepared membership information letters (English and French) with information about the Institute, its project initiatives and accomplishments. These letters will be used by the IMSI to help recruit new members. Current IMSI members are encouraged to assist outreach efforts to potential members and may find these letters to be helpful in that regard.
French Language Communications and Information Transfer:
Dave Chapeskie advised the IMSI’s Board that Citadelle had made a formal request to both the IMSI and the North American Maple Syrup Council to enhance French language communications /information transfer for the Annual IMSI and NAMSC programs. There is also ongoing interest in seeking ways to more generally enhance communications and information transfer to the francophone maple community in Quebec and elsewhere.
After discussion, IMSI’s Board of Directors decided to establish a committee to explore opportunities and make recommendations to advance this interest. The committee is comprised as follows:
Steve Selby: Chair
Dave Chapeskie, IMSI; Yvon Poitras, New Brunswick Maple Producers; Jerry Kless, Citadelle; Daniel Lalanne, CDL/Maple Pro Inc; and, Richard Norman, IMSI, Ex-Officio Member. It is expected that the committee will meet by teleconference in June.
Use of IMSI Logo:
The IMSI’s Strategic Plan which was revised in 2010 summarizes requirements for the use of IMSI’s Logo.
IMSI members who wish to use the logo to assist their product marketing efforts are concerned that it is not sufficiently meaningful to consumers without some words of clarification added. At the IMSI’s Board of Directors meeting in February 2011, it was decided that the name of the Institute would be added to the visual design. The IMSI’s Executive Director presented the logo trademark (leaf and bucket) with the name of the International Maple Syrup Institute incorporated with the visual symbol with three language variations - bilingual, English and French.
The IMSI’s Board of Directors decided that the bilingual logo would be used for all official IMSI business but that the three language alternatives - bilingual, English or French may be used by IMSI members for marketing purposes. The IMSI’s Executive Director will now provide this information to the legal firm administering IMSI’s trademark to be certain that no changes are required to the logo trademark itself and related legal considerations. IMSI members will be notified when they can begin using the logo with the name of the Institute with their language preference – bilingual, French and English.
2011 Maple Crop Reports:
There was a round table discussion regarding the 2011 maple crop in both Canada and the United States. Reports from the United States indicated a very good to bumper crop in most areas with crop yields up very significantly from the 2010 production season. In Canada, all reports indicate a good crop with comparatively lower tap yields than in the United States. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has estimated that the maple crop in Quebec is 95 million pounds. A final estimate for Quebec will be available by June 15th. In Quebec, 16% of the bulk syrup is certified organic.
Production levels are increasingly being positively impacted by the trend towards modernization of maple production equipment and expansion of the industry in some areas.
The colour distribution of syrup produced in some areas is skewed to either light or darker so significant blending is required to match consumer demand in some areas.
Blended Syrup Products - Packing and Retail Display:
The IMSI and the NAMSC have been very active in recent months responding to issues related to the packing and retail display of competing sweeteners in the marketplace. A letter was sent to most major food retailers in Canada and the United States outlining concerns of both international maple organizations related to misleading advertising and product displays which are potentially confusing to consumers and may adversely affect the market for pure maple syrup. The letter will be published in the June 2011 issue of Maple Digest.
The IMSI and the NAMSC has initiated communication with Pinnacle Foods Inc. regarding use of the Log Cabin plastic jug for table syrups. This communication is ongoing.
Standard International Maple Grades Project:
Dave Chapeskie provided an update regarding work underway towards implementation of standard international maple grades and nomenclature. Dave reviewed progress towards implementation including:
A more detailed update will be appended to the minutes of the IMSI Board of Directors meeting.
Nutritional and Health Advantages of Syrup Project:
Ray Bonenberg, Chair of the IMSI’s Nutritional and Health Benefits Committee reported on the status of this work. Project deliverables being finalized include a) A strategic positioning statement; b) A poster and rack card; and, c) A compendium of scientific and web-based information.
Details regarding the production and distribution of the resource materials remain to be worked out.
The IMSI’s Board of Directors requested that the draft poster and rack card be reviewed by appropriate representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the US labeling authorities for their input before these materials are finalized. Eric Prud’Homme of CFIA will help facilitate this review. This step is being taken as due diligence in advance of IMSI’s endorsement of the materials. Some additional time is required to complete all aspects of this project.
Organic Standard for Maple Syrup:
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is still working on harmonizing the organic standards with the U. S. It appears Canada has more stringent standards which has caused some issues in the marketing of syrup abroad.
Air Injection Use Guidelines:
Dave Chapeskie advised the Board that draft Guidelines for Proper Use of Air Injection in the production of maple syrup have been prepared with volunteer assistance provided by Angela Wheeler of Wheeler Maple Products, Ontario. The guidelines have been reviewed by a number of users of air injection technology as well as UVM Proctor Research Centre and Centre Acer. The draft guidelines will be circulated to IMSI members once all review comments have been considered and presented to IMSI’s Board of Directors with a recommendation for adoption at the IMSI’s next Board meeting on Wednesday August 24th, 2011 in Moncton, NB.
IMSI Golden Maple Leaf and Lynn Reynolds Award:
This is the fourth year that IMSI’s Golden Maple Leaf Award is being offered to members. The award is designed to recognize excellence in maple innovation. Over the past three years, a focused theme was identified for the award (ie. marketing; research; education). In 2011, the award has been opened up to any specialized area within the maple syrup industry (including: awareness/education; research; equipment development; promotion and marketing, etc.) It will be possible that more than one winner will be selected in 2011, dependant on the caliber of nominations. A “Call for Award Nominations” was issued by the IMSI in February. All IMSI members are encouraged to consider submitting nominations.
IMSI members may also submit nominations for the Lynn Reynolds Annual Memorial Leadership Award that recognizes individuals for excellent contributions to the international maple syrup industry.
IMSI members should contact IMSI’s Executive Director if they have any questions regarding these IMSI sponsored awards.
In 2011, nominations for these two awards must be received by the IMSI’s Executive Director by Friday August 15th at the latest.
IMSI Maple Grading School:
Kathy Hopkins was unable to attend the IMSI Board meeting in Croghan.
Kathy Hopkins provided a report on the most recent IMSI sponsored Grading School which was held in Stratford, Ontario in October 2010. Feedback from school participants was excellent. Kathy mentioned that the school helped raise the awareness of participants regarding the need for greater standardization of maple grades and nomenclature. Kathy advised the Board that the University of Maine Cooperative Extension had designed and launched a website to help promote IMSI’s Grading School. The website address is: http://extension.umaine.edu/maple-grading-school/
A grading school will be held in conjunction with the Annual NAMSC and IMSI meetings at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Michigan on Thursday October 27th and Friday October 28th.
A grading school will also be held on Wednesday December 7th and Thursday December 8th at the UVM Extension Office, Berlin, Vermont.
Further details including registration forms for these planned schools in 2011 can be accessed on the above referenced website.
Anyone interested in participating in the schools should contact Kathy Hopkins at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Directive for Planning NAMSC-IMSI Annual Meetings:
The IMSI and the NAMSC developed and distributed a directive to assist state and provincial committees responsible for planning annual meetings. IMSI’s Board of Directors endorsed the directive with a formal motion in Croghan.
Date and Location of Upcoming IMSI Board of Directors Meetings:
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011, Crystal Place Hotel, Moncton, New Brunswick
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011, Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth, Michigan
Date and Location of the IMSI Annual Meeting:
Monday, October 24th, 2011 Frankenmuth, Michigan
Date(s) and Location of IMSI and NAMSC Annual Meetings:
Sunday, October 23rd to Wednesday October 26th, Frankenmuth, Michigan
(The IMSI and NAMSC Annual Meeting Registration Package was not available as of June 1st 2011. IMSI Members will be e-mailed the registration package when it is received by the Executive Director )
Information Update Prepared by:
International Maple Syrup Institute