SUMMARY FROM THE IMSI BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Location: Old Orchard Inn and Spa, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Date: Tuesday, October 21st & Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
The International Maple Syrup Institute quarterly Board of Directors Meeting and Annual Meeting were held at the Old Orchard Inn in Wolfville Nova Scotia. This summary is being provided in advance of more detailed formal minutes for the two meetings, which will be distributed in December. Attendance at both the IMSI Board and Annual meetings was strong, with maple producers, maple packers, maple equipment venders, consultants and others in attendance.
A more condensed summary of some of the important “talking points” for IMSI Directors and IMSI members is appended to this summary file. All IMSI Directors are strongly encouraged to transfer information related to the IMSI’s work program and accomplishments to others as opportunities present themselves in the coming weeks (i.e. meetings, state/provincial newsletters, newsletters etc.)
New IMSI Directors Appointed:
The IMSI Board of Directors voted to accept the nominations for two new IMSI Directors, effective on October 21st, 2014. Bill Eva will represent the New Hampshire Maple Syrup Producers, replacing Hank Peterson and Eric Cote will represent L.B Maple Treat on the Board, replacing Claude Champagne. Bill and Eric are welcomed to the IMSI Board and Hank and Claude are thanked for their years of service to the Board.
IMSI Financial Report:
IMSI Treasurer David Campbell presented a financial report outlining revenues and expenditures for the period of January 1st, 2014 to September 30th, 2014. This included statements for Canadian, U.S. and Special Project Accounts. These statements were accepted by the IMSI Board of Directors without amendment. Account expenditures to date are reasonably aligned with the IMSI’s Annual Work Program Plan for 2014.
IMSI Financial Review (2014 Calendar Year):
Gary Gaudette and Jacques Couture will be conducting the Annual Financial of the IMSI records for the 2014 calendar year . They will present their report at the IMSI Board of Directors meeting in Burlington,Vermont on February 3rd, 2015.
IMSI Membership Update:
The IMSI has grown its membership significantly over the past five years and continues to encourage others to join its diverse membership. The IMSI will continue to encourage the several smaller Producer Associations, additional Packers and others to join. A major strength of the Institute is that it represents producers, packers, equipment vendors and others which have a very important stake in the industry.
IMSI Corporate Registration and Renewal of By-Law’s:
It was necessary for the IMSI to renew its Not-For-Profit Corporate Registration in Canada by October 17th, 2014. The IMSI obtained its Certificate of Continuance in September 2014 from Industry Canada. The IMSI has also revised its By-Law’s in 2014 to ensure that they are fully aligned with the new Industry Canada requirement and to further improve effectiveness. The IMSI Board of Directors and IMSI members accepted the revised By-Law’s without amendment at their Board and Annual meetings on October 21st and October 22nd respectively. The IMSI Executive Director, with the assistance of the IMSI Treasurer and others, will now work to renew the IMSI’s U.S. Corporate Registration.
IMSI Market Study Group Report:
The IMSI Market Study Group met following the Board of Directors Meeting on October 21st. The study group continued its work on fleshing out a draft strategy for marketing maple products within North America. The meeting forum was open to other IMSI Directors and others interested and wanting to contribute to the work of this group. Continued progress is being made in setting objectives and outlining a number of proposed actions. As an off-shoot of this work, Michael Farrell of Cornell University is coordinating a series of IMSI sponsored news articles to raise awareness across the maple industry regarding the importance of enhancing marketing efforts in North America, which will complement and enhance marketing initiatives already underway at the regional and local levels in the United States and Canada.
Following the IMSI Annual Meeting, a presentation was given by Ellen Lanicca Albanese, Senior Vice President of PadillaCRT, a marketing firm with vast experience in assisting different agricultural commodity groups in marketing their products. She provided a thought provoking presentation through which she shared how some different commodity groups such as highbush blueberries, avocado and dairy work together to market their products. An article based on this seminar will be published through the market news article series being coordinated by Michael Farrell.
Michael Farrell shared some very interesting U.S. Market Trend information extracted from Neilson data as part of his update for Cornell University in the NAMSC meeting forum. You may obtain a copy of this segment of his presentation on request from Dave Chapeskie.
Supply and Demand for Maple Syrup
IMSI President Yvon Poitras called on state and provincial IMSI Director Representatives to provide an update on supply and demand for maple syrup in their jurisdictions. In general, the supply of maple syrup was described as sufficient and prices were reported as stable. It was reported that there was very significant expansion of operations occurring in the United States which is estimated as high as one million taps per year. Yvon Poitras advised that 4000 additional hectares had been approved for tapping on public land by the New Brunswick government but that this development would be phased over a few years. It was estimated that demand for maple syrup is growing at the rate of 5% per year. It remains an open question regarding how much growth markets can accommodate in the medium and longer term without depressing prices. The industry is somewhat buffered from the severe impacts of adverse weather which occurred in the past because of broader application of new production technologies, especially vacuum systems. Also maple producers are adapting better to variable weather patterns and start-up requirements.
Simon Trepanier of the Quebec Federation mentioned that there were about 72 million pounds remaining in the Federation’s Strategic Reserve. He indicated that about 19% of the syrup produced in
Quebec in 2014 was Certified Organic and that market demand for this syrup was growing. He also indicated that about 20% of the production of bulk syrup in Quebec this year was classified, with varying degrees, as off-flavoured, due in large part to the lateness of the 2014 production season.
Concern About Off-flavoured Syrup in Retail Markets:
As reported previously, there are strong indications that off-flavoured syrup is entering retail markets and that where this happens, it could harm the good reputation of the maple syrup industry in North America and overseas. Producers and packers are strongly encouraged to taste their various syrup batches and do everything possible to identify and eliminate off-flavoured syrups from their retail markets. These syrups could be re-processed to meet good quality requirements or used in ingredient applications where the off-flavours cannot be detected. Centre Acer has recently developed a test kit to assist with the identification of off-flavours.
The identification of off-flavoured syrups is an important topic covered in the IMSI sponsored Maple Grading School as well as in Centre Acer’s very comprehensive training program. The IMSI Executive Director has arranged for reprinting of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Extension card on off-flavours. These will be distributed by mail to IMSI members before the end of the calendar year. It is recommended that they be distributed to maple producers during the upcoming information days in late 2014 and 2015.
Simon Trepanier presented information on the system used to assess and classify bulk syrups in Quebec, including off-flavoured syrups. This information is being translated to the English language and, when available, will be distributed to IMSI members. This information will help IMSI members and others better understand the syrup classification system used in Quebec.
IMSI members are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant regarding syrup which is suspected to be adulterated in the North American and overseas marketplace. Samples should be purchased from retail (4 sealed containers) and forwarded directly to Tim Perkins, UVM Proctor (US IMSI members) and to Yves Bois, Centre Acer (Canadian IMSI members).
There were no new samples received for testing since the August 2014 Board of Directors meeting.
For further information regarding the IMSI’s adulteration service, please contact the IMSI’s Executive Director, Dave Chapeskie.
Misrepresentation of Maple Syrup in the Marketplace:
IMSI has created a position statement on the problem of food manufacturers and food service establishments offering for sale products that deceptively “suggest” that they contain real maple syrup through the use of the word “maple” or maple syrup related imagery when in fact they do not. It includes a standard of identity for maple syrup and specifications for how product names and flavors are presented in a “total disclosure” fashion that will hopefully be adopted by various State, Provincial and Federal government agencies. The North American Maple Syrup Council (NAMSC) has endorsed the IMSI Position Statement and it is appended to this meeting summary. IMSI and NAMSC Council members can use the statement in their communications efforts.
The IMSI is also active in contacting food companies directly which have products in the marketplace believed to be misleading. These companies are being encouraged to use real maple in their product offerings. The IMSI Executive Director is tracking company responses. A listing of the companies contacted to date can be obtained on request from the IMSI Executive Director. It will take some time to gauge the success of this letter writing campaign.
California Proposition 65 Issue- Maple Update:
The IMSI, with the support and collaboration of nine packers and packer cooperatives, helped reach an agreement with the State of California in regard to Proposition 65 requirements. This agreement allows maple syrup to be sold in California without a health warning on the label related to occasional and trace amounts of lead that may be present due to some lead containing production and packing equipment that remains in use but is in the process of being phased out of production. This settlement will have long term implications for the North American Maple Syrup Industry. For more information please refer to the more detailed article to be published in the next edition of both the Maple Digest and Maple News or contact the IMSI Executive Director.
Organic Certification Committee Report:
A Committee of the IMSI, chaired by Kathy Hopkins, has developed both detailed and more condensed documents, with input from leading academic authorities and governmental agencies, explaining the differences between organic and non-organic maple syrup. The IMSI Board of Directors approved the compressed document with amendments at their Board meeting on October 21st and is appended to this meeting summary. If you wish to receive a copy of the detailed comparison document, please contact Dave Chapeskie.
IMSI Standard Grades and Nomenclature Update:
IMSI continues to input into the approval process and pending acceptance of the new maple grading system at the federal levels in both Canada and the U.S. The new grades were approved for implementation in Vermont in 2014 and other jurisdictions are expected to implement the new standard in 2015 or 2016, depending on their progress made to-date in working towards approval. The IMSI will continue to keep IMSI members and others abreast of the status of the regulatory approval process.
The IMSI hosted a panel discussion regarding the status of the standard maple grades initiative during the IMSI-NAMSC Annual meeting forum. Eric Prud’Homme, Dave Chapeskie, Henry Marckres and Matthew Gordon participated in this panel discussion. Feedback received from implementation of the new grade standard in Vermont and in market study trials elsewhere has been overwhelmingly positive. A very important feature for consumers and ingredient users is the new taste descriptors.
Asian Longhorned Beetle Report:
The IMSI Executive Director has distributed the North American Position Statement Paper for Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALHB) to political and government officials in both Canada and the United States so that it can be put to work for the industry. Further distribution may be completed later as required.
Ray Bonenberg, IMSI Director for Ontario has agreed to begin work on a maple industry strategy to help address ALHB. He will report on the status of this work at the IMSI’s next Board meeting in February 2015.
Research and Regulatory Reports:
Centre Acer, Cornell University, UVM Proctor Maple Research Centre, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Simon Fraser University and Dalhousie University presented in the Annual NAMSC-IMSI Meeting Forum. The presentations included:
IMSI Sponsored Awards (2014):
Jean-Marie Chabot of CDL was the recipient of the IMSI’s 2014 Golden Maple Leaf Award and Henry Marckres of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets was the recipient of the IMSI’s Lynn Reynolds Memorial Leadership Award. Congratulations are extended to both Jean-Marie and Henry. Further details can be obtained from Dave Chapeskie, upon request.
Maple Grades Training In North America:
The IMSI sponsored Maple Grading School was offered on October 20th and 21st in conjunction with the IMSI-NAMSC Annual meetings. Kathy Hopkins reported a very successful school offering with about 20 students from Canada and the US. Representatives from CFIA, USDA and Centre Acer participated in this school offering.
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.
It is also very important to note Centre Acer’s very well established and comprehensive maple grades training and other educational activities for maple producers in Quebec. Over the past year, some information sharing between Centre Acer and the IMSI Sponsored School has occurred. With the adoption of the new standard maple grades, it would be ideal if the maple grades training is uniform among providers.
IMSI Officers, Directors and Consultants for 2015:
The IMSI Nominations Committee develop the slate of nominees for Officers, IMSI Directors for 2015. Nominations Committee members were Richard Norman, Yvon Poitras and Dave Chapeskie. The slate of
IMSI Officers, Directors and Consultants accepted by the IMSI Membership is appended to this summary and will be included in the IMSI Annual meeting minutes.
Standard of Identity for Maple Water:
IMSI recently initiated a project to establish standards of identity for maple water to avoid consumer confusion (maple water can now be produced/sold in at least four different ways) and thereby support market growth of the maple water market which could reach sales of several billion dollars, like what may be the case already for coconut water. Consumer confusion over what constitutes real maple water could have a negative impact on the market. This IMSI Committee will be chaired by Lyle Merle from New York State. Committee members include Ray Bonenberg, Ontario; Simon Trepanier, Quebec; Dave Chapeskie, Ontario; Yvon Poitras(Ex-Officio)(New Brunswick); Henry Marckres, Vermont.
2015 IMSI Board of Directors Meetings:
2015 Annual IMSI and NAMSC Meetings:
The 2015 Annual IMSI and NAMSC Meetings will be held from Monday, October 19 to Wednesday, October 21st. The IMSI Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 20th. Overall NAMSC-IMSI Meeting Program details and the registration package will be posted on the IMSI’s website www.internationalmaplesyrupinstitute.com when they are available in 2015.
Dave Chapeskie, R.P.F.,
International Maple Syrup Institute
November 9, 2014