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Old October 4th, 2012, 11:09 AM
UVM Proctor Maple Res Ctr
Location: Vermont
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Default Hearing on Proposed Grading Changes

Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association

Public Comment Sought on Proposed Maple Grade Changes

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, in partnership with the Vermont Sugarmakers Association and UVM Extension, will hold three public meetings to take comment on the proposed changes to the maple grading system.

The changes have been proposed to align the Vermont grading system with the standard recommended by the International Maple Syrup Institute. Members of the public will be given the opportunity to provide comment.

Meeting dates and locations are as follows:
Tuesday, October 16 - Middlebury American Legion Post 27, 49 Wilson Road, Middlebury
Wednesday, October 17 - South Woodstock Fire Station, Rt. 106, South Woodstock
Thursday, October 18 - Lamoille Union Tech Center, Rt. 15, Hyde Park
The meetings will begin promptly at 7:00pm. After a brief presentation outlining the proposed changes, discussion will be moderated by Lynn Coale, Director of the Hannaford Career Center and a member of the Agriculture and Forest Products Development Board.

Input from these meetings will inform future consideration of the maple grading system standards.

For more information, please contact Henry Marckres at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets: 802-828-3458

To All VMSMA Members:

I would like to encourage all of you to attend at least one of the three informational meetings that will be held by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, October 16, 17, and 18. An effort is being made to hold them at several locations so that you will not need to travel excessive distances to attend. Your attendance is very important whether you are in favor or not in favor of the proposed changes.

The directors of the VMSMA have voted unanimously to support the proposed Maple Syrup Grading changes. This process has been in the works for over 10 years and has also been approved by the board of directors of our International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI), an organization which has representation from 12 US maple producing States and 4 Canadian Provinces. The proposed changes were the result of a lot of study, discussion, and negotiation. The final version, which is now proposed, is the one that was submitted by the Vermont Maple Industry Council to the IMSI and adopted at the October 2009 annual meeting which was held in Bar Harbor Maine.

The proposal would have Grade A with 4 Classes and Processing Grade. Vermont's more stringent density requirement will remain the same as they are now.

1.) The light transmittance of the lightest class (Golden Color and Delicate Taste) remains the same, at not less than 75% and Vermont producers may still use Fancy if they wish to, as long as the new terminology is also used.

2.) The next class, (Amber Color and Rich Taste) less than 75% to 50% light transmittance, includes the present Grade A medium amber and the top of the present Grade A dark amber.

3.) Dark Color and Robust Taste (the darker portion of the present A dark Amber and the lighter part of the present VT Grade B) less than 50% to 25% light transmittance.

4.) Very Dark Color and Strong Taste includes some syrup that is presently not legally able to be sold in retail containers. This will provide producers the ability to command a higher price for syrup that is only legally sold as commercial grade in bulk containers.
For Grade A, in all classes, the syrup must meet density requirements and be free from off or damaged flavors.

Processing grade: Less than 25% light transmittance, fails other grade requirements due to unacceptable density, color or flavor.
For more information about these proposed changes, please take a look at the chart which compares the present assortment of maple grading that exists within the maple producing regions. To have them all be uniform and include some flavor characteristics, would put everybody on an even playing field and be much less confusing for consumers. This has been proven in consumer studies that have been conducted by the IMSI in some metropolitan areas.

Please make an effort to attend one of the meetings and bring some of your producer friends so that everybody who wants to ask questions or make comments will have the opportunity.

Thank you,
Jacques Couture, Chairman
VMSMA Board of Directors
Dr. Tim Perkins
UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
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