The 2020 Vermont Maple Conference is going online from Dec. 6 to 11 and will feature several informative online sessions led by maple industry experts and maple producers.
University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association will host the virtual conference, which is free to attend. Daily sessions will be of interest not only to sugar-makers, but also to foresters who work with maple producers and forest landowners looking to lease to a producer.
To register, visit vermontmaple.org. Registration for each session closes 24 hours before its scheduled start time. To request a disability-related accommodation, call Cory Ayotte at 802-786-9437 by Nov. 30.
Conference week kicks off Dec. 6 with the Maple Industry Panel, an annual panel discussion where experts will talk about diverse topics ranging from tree health, sustainable syrup production and syrup quality, to trends in marketing and consumer demand from local retail to international wholesale and bulk markets.
This year's panel includes Ed Fox, CEO of Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, Vt.; Jean Lamontagne, executive director of the International Maple Syrup Institute; and Abby van den Berg, research associate professor of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center.
Three interactive hourlong sessions will be offered daily at 9 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. from Dec. 7 to 11. These will focus on maple business management, maple industry regulations, sugarbush health, marketing and media, and maple production and innovation.
All sessions will be recorded for future viewing. Here are the daily topics:
Dec. 7. Early tapping and tapping longevity strategies research, Vermont maple regulations and common issues found during product inspections, thinning the sugarbush for sap and tree health.
Dec. 8. Designing and installing a maple tubing system, forestry and sugarbush management, online advertising tools.
Dec. 9. The Vermont sugarhouse certification program, adapting to change during the pandemic, and UVM Proctor Maple Research Center update.
Dec. 10. Keys to high yields, sugarbush water quality and acceptable management practices, leasing taps to enhance viability.
Dec. 11. Using photography and social media for marketing, maple telemedicine, syrup production techniques to influence flavor.