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Ohio Maple Days coming Jan. 28-30: Register Soon

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Written Thursday, January 14, 2010  

Is darker maple syrup with a fuller taste on tap?

Ohio State University's Gary Graham sees change ahead for the U.S. maple industry, and he'll talk about it, and how producers can adjust to and gain from it, at the annual Ohio Maple Days workshop Jan. 28 in Fulton County, Jan. 29 in Wayne County and Jan. 30 in Geauga County.

Ohio State University Extension sponsors the workshop to help Ohio maple syrup producers get ready for the coming season, which will start in early February and run through mid-March, depending on the weather.

Register soon: the deadline is Jan. 21. The $30 cost includes lunch.

For details and to register, call 330-263-3799 and ask for Lisa.

"Long-standing traditions of how syrup is graded are going to be changing to meet what consumers want. This is a hard concept, as tradition is a big, big component of maple production," said Graham, an OSU Extension natural resources specialist and one of the event's organizers.

"Maple producers take pride in making a very light amber syrup," said Graham, who holds a partial appointment with the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) as well. "But studies have shown time and time again that consumers want a dark, full- or robust-tasting maple syrup."

He'll look at such changes in a session called "Maple Nuggets," with updates on grading, pricing, lead testing, new equipment, international marketing and more.

Cornell University's Steve Childs will present "Sizing and Tubing a Vacuum System," "Why Does Sap Run and What Can You Do About It?" and "Keys to Quality Value-added Products."

Larry Gearhardt of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) will speak on "Current Agricultural Use Value Assessment (CAUV) and Forest Tax Laws: Does a Sugarbush Qualify?" and "Property Line Disputes and Ohio's New Fence Laws."

There will be a trade show, free testing of hydrometers and of Vermont temporary maple syrup grading kits, and reports by OSU Extension and the Ohio Maple Producers Association.

"Producers will have the opportunity to learn what the maple industry is doing not just in Ohio but in the world market," Graham said. "They'll have the opportunity to learn how to get more production, which means more money to them.

"They'll also have the opportunity to learn from fellow producers and to talk to equipment dealers on the latest wares to help them produce more and better maple syrup," he said.

* The Morrow County workshop will be at the Lutheran Memorial Camp, 2790 State Route 61, south of Fulton.

* In Wayne County, in the Sprunger Building at the Kidron Auction, 4885 Kidron Road, Kidron.

* In Geauga County, at Joe J.S. Miller's Window Shop, 15020 Shedd Rd., Burton.

Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at all three locations.

There will be an additional trade show at the Burton location from 5-9 p.m. on Jan. 29 (admission, $3).

Childs studies grading, value-added products, tap hole sanitation, tubing systems and management of the forest tent caterpillar as part of Cornell's Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program.

He previously cared for 1,200 buckets and a same-size tubing system on a farm in western New York.

"He'll be covering helpful tricks to get the most out of a tubing system," Graham said. "Also, he has worked a lot on maple confections to help producers make more money by selling more than just syrup."

As senior director of OFBF's local affairs and legal team, Gearhardt works with county farm bureaus and their members on local issues, including private property rights.

His first talk will cover how forest crops such as maple syrup can qualify for money-saving agricultural tax breaks; his second, how producers can satisfy Ohio's new fence laws and protect their property in a changing rural landscape.

OSU Extension ( http://extension.osu.edu/ ) and OARDC ( http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/ ) are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences ( http://cfaes.osu.edu/ ).

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