Funds on tap for N.B. maple sugar stands

Details and application forms will be available online Tuesday for New Brunswick maple sugar producers to get funding to help thin their stands for better production.

The $300,000 sugar bush silviculture program, first announced in May, will provide up to $5,000 per producer at a rate of $500 per hectare for “approved thinning activities.”

Those include “pre-commercial” thinning, to give a boost to young maple trees for future sap production in new or existing sugar bushes, and “commercial” thinning, as a boost to maple trees for sap production in stands that are sapling age or older, in new or existing sugar bush.

Eligible sugar bush must be at least five hectares with a minimum of 150 taps per hectare, the province said in a release Monday.

The program is to be funded by the Regional Development Corporation, managed by the provincial natural resources department and operated by Infor Inc., a joint agency of the province’s maple syrup and Christmas tree producers’ and woodlot owners’ associations. Infor will also provide on-site technical assistance to producers in the program.

Applications must be received by Infor between July 18 and Aug. 8, and all work must be completed within 2008 to qualify, the province said.

New Brunswick ranks among the largest producers of maple syrup products in the world, the government said. About 300 operations produce four million pounds of syrup each season, worth $12 million in revenues through local and national markets as well as through maple product exports to the U.S. and Germany.

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