Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report, Feb 24, 2021

Re-posting as the subscription email did not go out.

Welcome to the first instalment of the 2021 Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report! I aim to post every 2 weeks during the season with status updates of maple productions around the province.

If you wish to contribute, feel free to get in touch with me:
jenny.liu2@ontario.ca
519 835 5872
Or comment on the post

Also check out the new section on Tapping 101 in the menu above, featuring information in the following categories:

  1. Tree Health
  2. Number of Taps Per Tree
  3. How to Time Tapping
  4. Where to Tap
  5. How to Tap
  6. Tapping Equipment – coming soon

Overview

Larger growers all over the province began tapping a few weeks ago, some starting as early as January. Preparations are under way inside sugar shacks in operations of all sizes, with equipment being cleaned and calibrated. Fairly deep snow has been reported all over the province and producers are strapping on snowshoes to check their lines.

Despite COVID taking away important markets for certain producers in 2020, many reported an upsurge in sales as consumers turned to buying local. Some producers had to sell in bulk.

If you’re a smaller producer, or a larger producer with lots of people power, it is best to wait until low nighttime temperatures reach -8 to -5⁰C for a few days. Otherwise, you run the risk of the bark splitting during tapping, which causes issues with tree health and vacuum sealing.

A tree trunk with a large vertical split in it above and below a taphole.

If you’re new to tapping, the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA) has published a series of excellent videos. Click below to watch and don’t forget to leave a “like”!

Southwest Region

Monday was the first day of tapping for some producers in the region, and will continue throughout the week in anticipation for the first sap run.

This region experienced a wet winter, and we expect trees to produce well this coming spring due to the excess soil moisture.

Wellington Waterloo Region

Temperatures warmed up over the weekend and the 14-day forecast has the next two weeks looking good for sap flow. Producers will be out tapping this week.

Grey-Bruce Region

Though temperatures are hovering around the freezing point, cool wind and snow mean that small to medium-sized producers will likely not be tapping this week. Folks in the area have been out checking lines and making repairs in hopes to begin tapping next week.

Central and Eastern Regions

Producers in this area had quite a lot of snow, but some completed tapping this past weekend. Others plan to complete tapping by this week.

Eastern Ontario had a drought for approximately 4-5 weeks last summer, but no lasting concerns. Many in Eastern Ontario also sold out of syrup last year.

Algonquin Region

Producers in this region normally does not begin tapping until the beginning of March, though larger producers have begun. Snow is very deep in this area.

In terms of sugarbush health, this region had a dry spell last summer after a bumper crop of sap in spring. However, fall was quite wet and there are few concerns.

Northern Algoma

Similar to other areas, the large producers are currently tapping, but smaller producers will likely wait until March. Snow is expected this week.

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Current COVID Funding Programs and Other Resources

Maple season is around the corner, and I hope everyone has been keeping well!

I’ve been hearing from producers that they are having difficulty finding and applying for COVID financial supports. Below is a (long, but not comprehensive) list of currently-available programs that cover funding, insurance and lending, and worker benefits. There is also some information on labour and COVID workplace safety. The list will be continually updated – please let me know of other initiatives you think should be included.

In the next blog post, I will be summarizing some of the excellent information Todd Leuty put out over the years on when and how to tap. Stay tuned!

Table of Contents/Quick Links

  1. Funding Programs
  2. Insurance and Lending Programs
  3. Worker Benefits Programs
  4. Resources for Workplace Safety

Funding

Enhanced Agri-Food Worker Protection Program

Deadline: February 26, 2021

Summary:

The program provides funding in the following categories:

  • Preventative occupational health and safety measures
    • Example purchases: PPE, medical testing equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection
    • 70% of eligible expenses, up to $15,000
  • On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program
    • Example purchases: housing modifications, workspace adjustments, equipment to allow greater physical distancing for workers
    • 70% of eligible expenses, up to $100,000

A recorded webinar explaining the program and application will be uploaded to this website: https://www.ofvc.ca/videos.html

Eligibility:

  • Cost must have been incurred on or after March 15, 2020
  • Ontario farm business under a valid Farm Business Registration Number or allowable exemption

How to apply:

Ontario Small Business Support Grant

Deadline: Not defined, applications currently open

Summary:

Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant provides businesses with funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020.

Eligibility:

  • be required to close or restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26
  • have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline comparing April 2020 to April 2019 revenues. New businesses established since April 2019 are also eligible provided they meet the other eligibility criteria

How to apply:

Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support

Deadline: ongoing

Summary:

Eligible small businesses will get one-time grants of up to $1,000 to cover unexpected PPE costs.

Eligibility:

  • Be in the following sectors:
    • Retail
    • Accommodation and food services
    • Repair and maintenance
  • Have 2-9 employees

How to apply:

Property tax and energy cost rebates

Deadline: ongoing

Summary:

  • For businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures. Eligible businesses could get rebates for:
    • municipal and education property taxes
    • energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil)
  • Funding will cover the entire length of time that regionally targeted public health restrictions are in place.
  • Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application.

Eligibility:

See the list here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs#section-2

How to apply:

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Summary:

  • The fund will help to mitigate the financial pressure experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees
  • The fund will help support projects by businesses, organizations and communities to prepare now for a successful recovery
  • Businesses that are already receiving support from the RRRF could now receive up to $20,000 in additional funding if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility and how to apply:

Contact your local regional development agency or see the websites below.

Insurance and Lending

Advanced Payments Program

  • A federal loan guarantee program that helps producers meet their financial obligations and benefit from the best market conditions by improving their cash flow throughout the year
  • Provides up to $400 000 advance with the first $100 000 interest free and the following $300 000 at prime interest rate

For maple syrup:

  • Advance rate: $2.14/lb
  • Advance available date: April 1, 2021 – March 15, 2022
  • Repayment deadline: September 30, 2022 or December 31, 2021 if NOT stored

Click here fore a link to the 2021-2022 Product Rate List and Worksheets for Ontario

Agristability

  • AgriStability is one of the business risk management programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It protects Canadian producers against large declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions.
  • AgriStability is a margin-based program designed to help producers manage large income declines.
  • Each year, you must enrol in the program, pay your fee and submit a form by the applicable deadlines.
  • You may receive a payment if your production margin in the current year falls below your historical reference margin by more than 30%.
  • Use the AgriStability Benefit Estimator to help you understand how the program works and to calculate an estimated benefit.
  • In Ontario, AgriStability is delivered by Agricorp. Click the link above for more information.

Farm Credit Canada Covid-19 support program

FCC is a lending organization. They do not provide grants or interest-free loans. Normal lending due diligence will be taken on all applications.

  • FCC has put in place:
    • a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
    • a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
    • term loans up to $2.5M, with no fees and an 18-month interest-only option available over a 10-year amortization. These funds can be used for working capital and to modify production due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Canada’s Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Deadline: June 2021

  • For small and medium-sized businesses
  • Covers payroll and operating costs caused by current economic situation
  • Repay over 5 years, with 6 month principal payment postponement

Worker Benefits

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
  • If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.
  • If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again.
  • You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

  • The CRCB is for care givers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because of care giving responsibilities
  • $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household between now and September 25, 2021
  • If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again

More Resources

How to Cohort During an Outbreak of COVID-19 in a Congregate Living Setting

Food manufacturing and processing health and safety during COVID-19

Develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan

Labour/Workplace Safety Webinars

FEBRUARY 10, 2021 | 12 pm – 1 pm
WSIB and COVID-19: Here to Help in the Event of an Outbreak
Speaker: Kendra Holliday-Bryant, WSIB

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board understands that a COVID-19 outbreak can be an overwhelming experience for an agricultural business during these changing times. The WSIB is here to help. Please join Kendra Holliday-Bryant, Stakeholder Relations Manager for a session on how WSIB is able to work with you should you experience an outbreak. She will cover topics on reporting obligations, foreign agricultural worker policy, wage reimbursement, and the single point of contact process. The WSIB’s goal when an outbreak occurs is to get you back to what is important to you, running your business.
Live event. Advance registration required.
Click here to register
 
FEBRUARY 11, 2021 | 12 pm – 1 pm
Access to Labour in 2021: Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program &  HR Resources for Farm Employers
Speakers: Ken Forth, FARMS/LICC;  Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, CAHRC
Live event. Advance registration required. 
Click here to register

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Hello from the new maple specialist!

Hello everyone!

My name is Jenny Liu and I’m the new Maple, Tree Nut, and Agroforestry Specialist at OMAFRA.

As many of you know, Todd Leuty retired in September last year after over two decades of dedicated public service. He certainly left behind some enormous shoes to fill!

A bit about me – I completed my forestry undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia, where I worked in forest management, dendroecology, and forest pest research. I then set my sights on agriculture, earning my Master’s in agricultural entomology at the University of Guelph. I am also a Certified Crop Advisor Candidate with agronomy experience in both Ontario’s field and horticultural crop sectors. My hobbies include hiking, mooning over houseplants, and designing ambitious crochet/knitting projects that I slowly follow through with. It is really a dream role for me to learn about how trees grow and to share that knowledge.

On this blog, I will continue communicating new research, funding opportunities, emerging issues, and of course the Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report. Let me know if there is something you’d like to see covered in a blog post!

Please feel free to get in touch –
Phone: 519-835-5872
Email: jenny.liu2@ontario.ca
Under non-COVID circumstances: 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, ON  N1G 4Y2

Nice to meet you, and talk to you soon!

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report May 29, 2020

BANNER Year For Gypsy Moth Larvae!

Jen is Nursery Crops Specialist, OMAFRA and works with commercial tree nurseries and landscape industries.

Seeing holes in newly emerged leaves but all you can find are dark, fuzzy little caterpillars?  Gypsy moth larvae have dispersed and begun to feed on trees and shrubs.  Look for holes in leaves and turn over to inspect leaf undersides for tiny larvae.  We often see both Gypsy moth larvae and cankerworm larvae feeding on the same leaves.  Their favorite hosts seem to be species of Quercus (Oaks), Acer (Maple), Fagus (Beech), Tilia (Linden), Betula (Birch) and they can even be found on Picea pungens (Colorado blue spruce). Continue reading

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report for April 27, 2020

New CAP Intake to Help Canadian Farmers Develop New Markets

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) has just announced a new program to help fund agri-food businesses starting e-commerce sales or other activities that might open new market channels.  This targeted intake is called “Agri-food Open for E-business” and can be found on the OMAFRA website.

Read on for more details of the program, who is eligible, and examples of projects maple syrup producers can apply for in each of the two program streams.

Continue reading

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report for April 9, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and to respect physical distancing measures, all OMAFRA crop specialists are working remotely but are still available to assist you.

We will continue to support the sector’s needs by providing services via email, phone and virtual meetings where possible.  We understand these are trying times for most and so we want to assure everyone that we are continuing delivery of information in a timely manner through these alternative channels.

We will continue to provide the sector with the support we’ve always given. Thank you for your understanding.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Ontario maple syrup is ready!

Are you eager to purchase fresh Ontario maple syrup?!  This year’s maple syrup has exceptional flavour and quality!  Contact a local maple syrup producer to arrange for a safe and convenient way to order, or have delivered to your home, maple syrup and other specialty maple products. Continue reading

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report for March 20, 2020

What’sap’pening around the province!

Maple syrup production has continued across the province these past few weeks.  In early southwestern regions from Sarnia, Chatham-Kent to Kitchener-Waterloo and Niagara region, many producers report they have processed 75% to 90% of the provincial average yield of 1.1 L syrup per tap.

In earliest southwest sugar bushes, where new tight vacuum is used for sap harvest, syrup yields of 1.6 L to 1.9 L syrup per tap has been processed.  In this area, colour classes and crop yield percent include; Golden 5%, Amber 65%, Dark 25%, Very Dark 5% with a little more Very Dark syrup expected next week. Continue reading

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report, March 6, 2020

The 2020 maple sap harvest and maple syrup processing season is underway in southern areas of Ontario.  Many producers in southern areas have their sugar bushes fully tapped and are busy processing new syrup, while others are still working on completing tapping their trees.  The first sap harvest and boil occurred in the earliest southwestern areas (London-Chatham-Sarnia) the first week of February.  Mid-season southern areas had their first sap run and boil occurring the third and fourth weeks of February.  From weather forecasts, numerous sap runs will occur in the coming days across southern regions.

For sap flow conditions, watch for consecutive days of thawing daytime temperatures with freezing night time temperatures, ideally +5 ⁰C day and -5 ⁰C night.  Trees that are deeply frozen require several days to thaw before sap flows.  Low atmospheric pressure during the thaw period often produces a faster flow of sap, but not always a higher yield. Continue reading

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Ontario Walnut Syrup, Nuts and Walnut Wood Products Report, May 3, 2019

Interest in alternative tree syrup is growing

In southern Ontario, walnut syrup is currently produced in small hobby batches from sap harvested from maturing trees that are found growing in small groups or are growing randomly along fencerows of farm fields.  In many cases, squirrels likely planted the walnut trees.  Sap is collected from walnut trees using buckets, since operations are not practically large enough at this time to install modern vacuum tubing.

Continue reading

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report, April 26, 2019

Sap harvest has ended in Ontario

The 2019 maple sap harvest and syrup processing season has come to an end for maple syrup producers.  Late northern areas were able to process a few final runs of sap before buddy off-flavours appeared.  Although the precise results of syrup production are not tallied yet, maple syrup producers say they are satisfied with both the yield of syrup and the high quality of maple flavour for the 2019 harvest.

Continue reading

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