Impact of the School on Maple Syrup Producers and the Industry

What difference has the grading school made for producers?

A long-term (N=151) survey showed the difference that the school makes on participants.

  • 92% of respondents gave the school an overall rating of eight to ten on a ten-point scale.
  • 80% of participants (151) have increased their knowledge about producing high-quality syrup by two to six steps on a seven-step scale
  • Respondents were asked about the implementation of five maple syrup grading skills as a result of attending the school. Practice implementation rates ranged from 43% to 87% for all five skills as a result of attending the school. Fifteen replied that they have judged a syrup contest as a result of the school.
  • 96% of respondents said networking with other producers increased their knowledge about grading maple syrup and 81% are still in contact with other participants.
  • Of the impact of the school on their business: 75% stated that the school saved them money, 63% increased their profit, 70% increased their sales, 70% reduced their costs and 10% added employees.
  • Estimates of the dollar value impact on their business:
    • Saved money: 85% saved up to $249, 15% saved $250 to over $1000
    • Profit: 33% increased profit from $250 to over $1000
    • Sales: 24% increased sales from $250 to over $1000
    • Costs: 70% reduced costs from $1 to $100, 10% reduced costs from $250 to over $1000
  • Trained judges are available for judging maple contests and fairs.

What difference has the grading school made for the industry?

  • Grading and/or quality violations in the state of Vermont decreased 35% over the two production seasons since the first school was held.  In 2004, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets had 70 violations for quality or grading.  Violations dropped to four in 2006.
  • Newsletter articles on quality and grading issues have been printed in state newsletters in Ohio, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
  • Grading reference cards have been printed by Maine, New Hampshire, and New York.  These cards are a quick reference chart of information for producers or packers with correct temperatures for boiling and packing, light transmission standards for the different grades as well as correct Brix and Baumé density levels.
  • Extension educators from Cornell who attended the school adapted the format to present a series of one-day schools in New York for New York producers.
  • A one-day intensive workshop designed specifically for the Department of Agriculture inspectors was held in Maine.
  • Numerous half-day “Highlights of Grading” workshops have been held in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont.