11:36 pm agriculture
The province of New Brunswick recently announced that it would make available up to $300,000 for silviculture operations such as thinning (commercial and pre-commercial) on their sugar maple stands.
Judging from last year’s silviculture funding, there are restrictions to what size operation are eligible for funding (5 hectares with > 150 taps/ha) as well a maximum limit per hectare ($500) and per producer ($5000).
The intent of the financial support is to encourage healthy and more productive sap production from the sugar maples and which should in turn encourage increased maple syrup production. Unfortunately there are other uncontrollable factors such as weather which affect sap production and thus profitability.
New Brunswick is a fairly large player in the maple syrup market worldwide with approximately four million pounds of syrup being produced every season. Although this is a relatively small amount compared to the production from Quebec, it still represents about $12 million annually to the New Brunswick economy. In addition, with the price of maple syrup having risen fairly dramatically in the last few years, maple syrup production has the potential for increased returns.
By specifically targeting the silviculture side of maple syrup production, as opposed to say improving the efficiency of the sap boiling process, the government is also helping out provincial silviculture firms (including the Irvings) which have been struggling along with the rest of the forestry sector for the last few years.