Warm spring weather threatens state maple syrup industryUnseasonably warm spring weather, coming on the heels of a warm winter, is threatening Wisconsin's maple syrup industry.
By: By Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Unseasonably warm spring weather, coming on the heels of a warm winter, is threatening Wisconsin's maple syrup industry. It's not just the sap producers who could be hurt. Last year, Wisconsin produced 155,000 gallons of maple syrup. It was a very good season. But this year, producers are fretting because of the weather. Steve Emmerich owns Sweet Nature Foods, which processes and sells maple syrup and related products at his shop near Athens, west of Wausau.
"We're not even to March 15th yet and we're encountering temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees during the day and then of course not freezing at night,” he said. “And we really need that freezing at night and then the warming and sunshine during the day to get that peak sap production."
Emmerich says a bad season doesn't just affect the people who tap the trees and boil the syrup.
"It's a very important industry in Wisconsin, not only because of the individual sap producers but because of all the related businesses, the equipment manufacturers, the suppliers, the wholesalers, the packagers, there's just a lot of people involved in Wisconsin,” he said.
Emmerich says we won't know how the price of maple syrup will be affected until we tally this year's production totals, not only from Wisconsin, but also from Canada and Vermont.
"North Central Wisconsin could have a very poor producing year while Canada could have a very good year, or New England could have a good year," he said. Unfortunately for those with a sweet tooth, Vermont has also seen record high temperatures this month, and forecasters are predicting an unusually warm, dry spring in Canada.