More than 100 maple syrup
producers from throughout the state of Indiana as well as neighboring
states attended the annual meeting of the Indiana Maple Syrup Association
held Saturday, December 3, at the Whitley County 4H Fairgrounds in Columbia
The daylong session
included speakers and exhibits that addressed issues faced by Hoosier
maple syrup producers.
James Fleck, Mayor
of Columbia City, welcomed the group as part of the opening session.
The mayor noted that this is the first time the group has met in Columbia
Equipment displays featured dealers from Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
There was a special display of saws and safety equipment in connection
with the presentation on chainsaw safety by Duane McCoy, of the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources.
McCoy is a professional
forester with the Indiana Division of Forestry and coordinator of the
Indiana Department of Natural Resource’s Chain Saw Safety Training
Mr. McCoy showed
examples of the personal protective equipment (PPE) now available as
well as the safety features that should be present on a chain saw. He
also discussed the "Directional Felling" method and strongly
encouraged the Indiana Maple Syrup Association to sponsor a tree-felling
workshop for their members.
do not know what protective gear is out there to keep them safe,”
McCoy observed. “I appreciate the interest that the maple producers
have in safety in the woods. Logging is the most dangerous profession
in America for a reason."
Other speakers included
Art Harris, a member of the Indiana Department of Health’s task
force on seasonal and value added foods. Harris, a member of the board
of directors of the Indiana Maple Syrup Association and a producer from
Greencastle, IN, reported on the current status of health inspections
for Hoosier sugar houses.
The task force advised health officials who are preparing sugar bush
inspection guidelines for county boards of health. Harris noted that
sugaring operations have always been subject to inspection the way Indiana
statutes are written. It has been a matter of county boards of health
choosing to do so. Harris and colleagues from the IMSA recommended ways
to inexpensively modify sugaring operations to meet existing statutes.
(see recommendations pdf file)He expects
many of these to be incorporated into the guidelines to be issued by
the Indiana Department of Health early in 2006.
R. Dean Payne, Farm Crop Specialist with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance,
spoke to the group about liability insurance. Mr. Payne outlined the
differences between protection for maple syrup producers offered under
homeowner’s insurance, the typical farm liability insurance policy,
and commercial insurance. He admonished producers to sit down with their
agents and discuss their operation. A producer must understand clearly
what activities are covered under the policy they have in force and
what activities require an additional policy or rider to properly manage
risk. Many insurance companies provide consultants to help producers
“The worst time to find out about coverage is after an incident
has occurred,” Payne noted.
Phil Marshall, entomologist and Forest Health Specialist with the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources, updated members on the Asian long horn
beetle, the emerald ash borer and the gypsy moth, three exotic insect
pests of concern to Indiana maple syrup producers. Marshall showed photos
to help producers spot evidence of these insects and he identified locations
where these insects have been found.
The emerald ash borer does not attack sugar maples directly, Marshall
noted, but eradication efforts can include removal of all ash trees
in a woods, and this activity often takes place at the same time that
maple syrup is being made.
Indiana has not had widespread defoliation by gypsy moth, but the insect
is present in many areas and efforts to control the pest through pheromone
spray will continue.
Mr. Marshall said that an outbreak of the Asian long horn beetle would
be the most devastating of all, and many of Indiana’s producers
are within 150 miles of Chicago where the beetle was found. Fortunately,
infested trees in the Chicago area were removed promptly, and no new
infestations have been reported for the past two years.
Marshall explained that this is why everyone must take seriously the
admonition not to move firewood around the state or country. Infestations
usually first appear near campgrounds which implicates firewood as the
most common way the pests are carried to new areas.
During the business session, Kenneth Shipley, a charter member of the
Indiana Maple Syrup Association and treasurer for many years, received
a hand made maple bench as a token of the IMSA’s appreciation.
Louise Jewell, Public Relations Director and Dave Hamilton, current
treasurer of the association made the presentation. Shipley retired
from his post as director and treasurer because of declining health.
Richard Schorr, a representative from the Ohio Maple Producers Association
and Program Chair for the 2007 joint meeting of the North American Maple
Syrup Council and the International Maple Syrup Institute, described
preparations being made for the meeting to be held in Akron, Ohio in
the fall of 2007. The Indiana Maple Syrup Association and the Ohio Maple
Producers Association will jointly host the meetings.
Producers Pam Childers from Peru, IN, Bill Owen of Avilla, IN and Dave
Hamilton of New Castle, IN were elected to three year terms as directors
of the Indiana Maple Syrup Association.