NEW HARTFORD, NY-- New York State leaders are looking to sweeten the deal for the maple syrup industry statewide with a new program to boost business.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new "New York State Grown and Certified" label as a way to promote local producers.
Gordon Tibbits, owner of Tibbits Maple, is considering participating in the certification program. Tibbits started making maple syrup more than 30 years ago, he never imagined it would grow into the fourth generation family-run business it is today. Back then he started with just 11 taps, now he has more than 3,000. Tibbits said it takes time and dedication to run a maple syrup business.
"I started this machine here last night at 4 o' clock and we closed that door over there at midnight," he said. "And that was 7,520 gallons of sap. It's a lot of hard work, but you know you don't get paid for sitting around.
To be eligible for the distinction syrup makers must use syrup from New York maples that's been processed within the state. They must also follow state food safety standards and follow environmental rules intended to make the industry sustainable.
"First and foremost the objective would be to have a way to communicate to the consumer that a high standard of excellence has been set for that product, said, Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association. "The person who has a 'Grown and Certified Seal' on their product has complied with those high standards."
Thomas said about 110 producers have already singed up to participate in the program, and dozens of others are on a waiting list.
Tibbits said the certification program seems like a positive thing for the state.
"Anything that you can do to promote maple in New Sork State is going to help," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's me or someone else it's going to help."
New York is one of the nation's top producers of syrup. According to federal statistics, the state had more than 2.5 million taps in production in 2016.
More than 750,000 gallons of syrup were produced last year in New York.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.