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Sunday, July 6, 2014

#cdnpoli Will New Harper #Maple Standards Pour Small #Farms Down Crapper? [editorial]

How Will New Harper Maple Syrup Regulations Affect Rural Syrup Producers?

New proposed Maple Syrup Standards bear high costs for small farms and consumers. 

Omemee area has excellent sugar bushes, and rural maple syrup producers - some farms simply produce enough for themselves and a few family members, while other farms have been slowly expanding their maple syrup production over the years, depending on the climate conditions. 
Small farm Maple Syrup producers  being poured down toilet Big Corporations left in jug
Will You Let Small Farmers Be Poured Down the Crapper?
While people were preparing to enjoy Canada Day with families, and enjoy pancake breakfasts with real Canadian Maple syrup, the Harper Government -their words, not mine, released a bomb shell that may change the maple syrup market drastically both for producers and consumers in terms of costs. Will the introduction of changes costing almost $8, 000 per business help our local farms, or will these changes only increase prices,increase imports, create barriers to small farms and put small Canadian Farmers out of business?
We received the press release below, regarding new changes proposed for Canadian Maple Syrup Standards. Ottawa spin doctors, really are not doing the Conservative party any favours by labelling all National political news with "Harper Government", but that is beside the point. The question is "Who benefits?" Here is my interpretation. What's yours?

New Canadian Maple Syrup Standards -Who is Behind the Changes? 

The International Maple Syrup Institute, founded in response to a glut of American low grade Maple Syrup on the market in the early 1970's, is a voluntary board having members from both Canada and the USA. While most Canadian participants are small producers, there are two producers currently grossing millions.

New Canadian Maple Syrup Standards -What Changes? 

There are several parts to the maple syrup standards proposed:
  1. Changing the definition of maple syrup to include the word exclusive
  2. Changing the Maple Syrup grading system to descriptors, requiring new testing devices.
  3. Changing Maple Syrup import laws.
  4. Changing Maple Syrup labelling. 

New Canadian Maple Syrup Standards - Who Pays? 

Currently, only 3% of Canadian Maple Syrup producers are registered. There are 207 Registered Maple Producers, 205 are small producers, while two gross millions. Will these proposed changes reduce registered Canadian Maple Syrup Producers to 2?
  • Tax Payer Costs for this change are estimated to be $19,671
  • Business estimated costs $1.520 million (in 2012 dollars) or $1.57 million in 2014 dollars or almost $8,000 for each maple producer. Will this affect maple syrup prices? Without a doubt. Will it affect the ability of small farmers to stay in the market? Well, what do you think?
Here is the press release we received:

Harper Government Announces New Proposed Standards for Canadian Maple Syrup 

The Government of Canada is proposing amendments to the Maple Products Regulations to set federal maple syrup standards that benefit consumers and industry.
  The proposed changes would harmonize the definition and grading system in the United States and Canada, and give consumers more consistent and relevant information about different varieties of maple syrup. The new standards would result in the modernization of the current grades and colour classes of maple syrup introducing new flavour descriptors that will help consumers make more informed choices when buying maple syrup. For example, four revised colour classes and new taste descriptors will categorize pure maple syrup on a scale ranging from "Golden Maple Syrup with a delicate taste" to "very Dark Maple Syrup with a strong taste".
The proposed amendments to the Maple Products Regulations will be published in Canada Gazette, Part I on June 28, 2014. The CFIA is seeking input from consumers and industry on the proposed changes during the 75-day comment period, ending on September 10, 2014.
To help the Canadian maple industry transition to any new regulations resulting from this process, the CFIA is recommending a two-year transition period. This would allow industry to gradually implement any new requirements. Quick Facts Canadian producers are responsible for 84 per cent of world maple syrup production, with the United States responsible for 16 per cent.
These proposed amendments are based on recommendations from the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) and feedback received during previous consultations with consumers and industry.
 The IMSI is a voluntary organization representing the Canadian and American maple syrup industries. The Institute has been working and consulting for several years on developing common grading standards for Canada and the United States.
The Government of Canada is committed to providing more information for consumers so they can make informed food choices.
Quotes
"Canada is world renowned for its high-quality maple syrup and maple products. These proposed amendments will better support Canada's maple producers by helping to facilitate trade and meet consumer demand." Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food 
 "Not only will these amendments provide maple producers greater freedom to market their products internationally, they will make it easier for Canadian consumers to purchase the syrup they prefer. The new grades and colour classes will help Canadians make more informed choices when shopping for our high quality maple syrup." Nancy Greene Raine Senator 
Contacts Jeff English Director of Communications The Office of Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture 613-773-1059 Media Relations Canadian Food Inspection
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