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Vermont's Maple Syrup Production Has Surged, Report Shows

Toby Talbot
Vermont farms have added 1.5 million taps since 2007, and production is up more than 50 percent.

As if leading the country in maple syrup production weren't enough, Vermont producers upped their output to nearly a million gallons in 2012.

The number represents a surge of more than 50 percent since 2007, according to the final results of the 2012 federal Census of Agriculture.

In 2012, Vermont produced 999,391 gallons of syrup, or 43.5 percent of the national total, according to the results, which the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released on May 2.

The number of taps in Vermont also grew from 2.7 million in 2007 to 4.3 million in 2012, while the number of farms producing syrup, 1,553, is up just 18 percent.

The value of Vermont maple syrup production was $40.7 million in 2011 and $26.6 million in 2012, according to estimates from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

The census results come amid a shift toward international grading standards, which are intended to help Vermont sugar makers compete in Canada, the world's largest producer of syrup.

Neighboring states have seen a range of growth: Maine's production is up 75 percent and New York's is up 56 percent, while New Hampshire has seen a 16 percent increase and Massachusetts' production has inched up just 2 percent.

Credit Angela Evancie / VPR
Vermont's maple syrup production is up more than 50 percent since 2007, according to results from the 2012 federal Census of Agriculture. (Data source: USDA)

Meanwhile, the numbers show growth in another area: alternative energy. The number of Vermont farms using solar panels has skyrocketed by 388 percent. In 2009, 110 farms reported using photovoltaic and thermal solar panels; by 2012, 537 farms had installed panels. 

The number of farms with wind turbines has nearly doubled as well, from 43 in 2009 to 83 in 2012.

Preliminary results of the census, which were released in February, showed that small-scale agriculture is thriving in Vermont, despite a national trend that shows farmland being consolidated into fewer, bigger operations.

Angela Evancie serves as Vermont Public's Senior VP of Content, and was the Director of Engagement Journalism and the Executive Producer of Brave Little State, the station's people-powered journalism project.
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