IMSA Home Page | Latest News

Annual Meeting Held in Columbia City Sat., Dec. 3, 2005

Program focused on current issues that face maple syrup makers

Inspection   Safety
Insurance   Homeland Security
Insect Pests   Getting Started

December 3

Community Building at the Whitley County Fairgrounds in Columbia City

Program (pdf)

Photos of the meeting.



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 City, IN.

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 City.

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 Program.

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.

“People generally 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 identify risk.

“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.