WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and the Associated Press reported on Maine Gov. Paul LePage citing a maple industry study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe. Gabe found the state’s maple industry directly contributes nearly $28 million to the state’s economy every year. LePage said the industry has a “huge potential for additional job creation.” MPBN and Boston.com carried the AP report.
Registration is open for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s annual Maine Grain Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. The conference is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others involved in the agricultural community.
Featured speakers Klaas Martens and Mary-Howell Martens from Lakeview Organic Farm in Penn Yan, N.Y., will talk about organic grain rotations, production considerations for alternative grains, growing grain for seed and protecting grain quality with proper harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. The Martens farm 1,400 acres of corn, wheat, barley, oats and legumes. They also operate a feed mill and sell organic feed, crop seed and food-grade grains.
Dorn Cox of the four-generation Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H. will discuss grain equipment options for all scales of operation. The grain grower will also give an overview of his 250-acre farm, as well as of the Great Bay Grain Cooperative that shares equipment and expertise.
Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist and conference organizer, will update attendees on UMaine grain research results with graduate students Aaron Englander and Erin Roche. An open question-and-discussion session will be held so participants can tap into available expertise.
Participants will receive two pesticide certification credits and six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits.
Registration is required by Thursday, March 13. Cost is $20 if registered by March 10, $30 after. The fee covers lunch and a snack. Registration is available online. For more information, to register by phone, or to request a disability accommodation, call Meghan Dill at 207.581.3878.
Categories: Campus Announcements; Cooperative Extension; Economic Development; Penobscot County; Statewide; Outreach
A new study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in a Bangor Daily News article titled “LePage says Maine could lead the nation — and maybe Quebec — in syrup production.” Gabe’s study, which received financial support from the Maine Agricultural Development Grant Fund and the Maine Maple Producers Association, showed the state’s syrup industry contributes nearly $49 million to Maine’s economy and supports more than 800 jobs. The figures include multiplier effects. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
The Portland Press Herald interviewed David Townsend, an oceanography professor in the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences, for an article about two major oil companies exploring potential drilling sites in water off Nova Scotia that could generate opportunities for Maine businesses, but also threaten the state’s fisheries. Townsend spoke about currents in the proposed exploration area. He said because of the circular currents in the Gulf of Maine, a major spill could cause highly diluted trace oil to reach coastal waters in Maine.
Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about a 16-year-old from Cape Elizabeth, Maine who is creating digital games for the Apple store. Moriarity said technology companies such as Apple are increasingly targeting a younger demographic in hopes of creating customers for life.
The Maine maple syrup that enhances the flavor of pancakes and ice cream also adds to the statewide economy.
University of Maine economist Todd Gabe says, including multiplier effects, Maine’s maple industry annually contributes about $49 million in revenue, 805 full- and part-time jobs and $25 million in wages to the state’s economy.
Multiplier effects occur when an increase in one economic activity initiates a chain reaction of additional spending. In this case, the additional spending is by maple farms, businesses that are part of the maple industry and their employees.
“The maple producers were really helpful in providing me with information about their operations, which allowed for a really detailed analysis of their economic impact,” says Gabe, whose study was released in February.
Each year, the industry directly contributes about $27.7 million in revenue, 567 full- and part-time jobs, and $17.3 million in wages to Maine’s economy, Gabe says.
Maple producers earn about 75 percent of the revenue through sales of syrup and other maple products, including maple candy, maple taffy, maple whoopie pies and maple-coated nuts, he says.
Retail sales at food stores and the estimated spending of Maine Maple Sunday visitors on items such as gasoline and meals accounts for the remainder of revenue. This year, Maine Maple Sunday will be celebrated Sunday, March 23 at 88 sugar shacks and farms across the Pine Tree state.
Maine has the third-largest maple industry in the United States. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, maple syrup is produced in 10 states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin.
In 2013, Maine accounted for 450,000 gallons, or 14 percent, of the 3,253,000 million gallons produced in the U.S. Vermont (1,320,000 gallons) and New York (574,000) were the top two producers. Among the three top-producing states, Maine had the highest growth rate (25 percent) of production between 2011 and 2013, Gabe reports.
In Maine, the maple production industry appears to be dominated by a few large operations; the 10 percent of maple farms with 10,000 or more taps account for 86 percent of the total number of taps in the state, he says.
While the maple producers that participated in Gabe’s study had an average of 4,109 taps, almost 40 percent of Maine’s maple producers had fewer than 250 taps. The study participants have been tapping trees and boiling sap for an average of 24 years.
Depending on temperature and water availability, the length of the sap flow season varies; in 2013 it ran from March 4 to April 12 in Maine.
Close to 40 percent of the maple producers that are licensed in Maine returned surveys for the study, which received financial support from the Maine Agricultural Development Grant Fund and the Maine Maple Producers Association.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Habib Dagher, director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, was quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek article about the offshore wind pilot project proposed by Maine Aqua Ventus, a consortium that includes UMaine and partner companies. In the article, “Floating wind farms venture farther out to sea,” Dagher said Maine Aqua Ventus companies will save tens of millions of dollars by using floating concrete platforms as opposed to renting barges and cranes to install fixed-foundation turbines. He said ideally the unit will be towed back to shore every 20 years to have a next-generation turbine installed.
Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about innovation playing an important role in the future of Maine’s pulp and paper industry. The article states an integral part of the innovations occurring at Old Town Fuel and Fiber is the mill’s collaboration with UMaine and its Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI). The relationship gives the mill the opportunity to take advantage of R&D capabilities it wouldn’t necessarily have access to. Rice said there are no huge changes in technology that will suddenly appear, but he thinks the industry’s economics have the potential to change over time with the addition of new conversions and methods.
Rep. Mick Devin of Newcastle who is also a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center was interviewed for a WLBZ (Channel 2) report titled “Crabs and climate change pose threat to Maine shellfish.” Researchers at the Darling Marine Center say climate change is putting more carbon in the ocean which lowers the pH level and makes the water more acidic. Devin said ocean acidification will hurt more than clams because all marine animals are used to living and evolving in a certain pH range. He said scientists and the shellfish industry need to learn a lot more in order to cope with ocean acidification.
A proposed offshore wind pilot project by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies, was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about businesses working to launch offshore wind energy facilities urging Congress to renew tax credits that would help kick-start an industry that could bring jobs to Maine and other coastal states. Doug Pfeister, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, called the prototype floating wind turbine launched off the coast of Castine by UMaine and Cianbro last June “a great first step” for the offshore wind industry.