The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA) says it has received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for an Ontario Sector Development Project and will explore a revised strategic approach for the maple syrup industry in Ontario.
OMAFRA’s support includes an $83,000 grant to explore quality assurance issues, domestic market opportunities, partnership possibilities, climate change effects, and how to develop future maple producers. These are the key ingredients in determining a future path for the Ontario maple industry.
OMSPA was formed in 1966 with a clear intent to enhance and grow the industry but much has changed in the last 56 years.
“The industry is at a crossroads," OMSPA President Frank Heerkens explains. "We have to understand where to adjust to meet the needs and demands of the future”.
Funding support from OMAFRA will allow OMSPA to analyze where the industry is now, what the possibilities are for the future, and to work with its members in a revision of its strategic plan.
“Our government appreciates the hard work that Ontario maple syrup producers put in year after year to create a world-class product,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture. “It is important to support the efforts of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association which is committed to ensuring it’s members produce high-quality products using the best available management practices. The tradition associated with producing one of nature’s greatest natural sweeteners is truly a success story, and I look forward to seeing the positive economic impacts this funding will help generate.”
The Ontario maple industry contributes close to $50 million to the GDP of Ontario annually, $10 million in taxes, and sees a permanent and casual workforce of over 1,500 jobs.