Sweet
Opportunities

Tapping West Virginia’s Maple Resource

Research

Future Generations University pioneers research and training programs to help West Virginians economically through sustainable land-use enterprises and helps create economic incentives for responsible ecology.

Faculty-led research carried out in partnership with farmers and producers in the field is discovering best practices in forest farming. The larger world receives strengthened ecosystems in water and soil conservation and a positive impact on carbon emission reduction in the modern climate change era.

Accessing New Markets in this Time of Uncertainty

With summer fairs, festivals, and outdoor markets in question during the pandemic, this may be a good time to re-examine your business model now that bulk price for syrup remains anything but encouraging. Syrup makers need to be continually looking for immediate and long-range market opportunities and strategies.

Watch free webinars for maple producers

Recent Future Generations University research in partnership with the WV Department of Agriculture and supported by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant encompasses:

Maple Sap Collection & Syrup Processing certificate participants in West Virginia.

Future Generations University sees the untapped potential in one of West Virginia’s most abundant resources: our native forests.

Following the model of our neighbors to the North, our work establishes networks between producers and sap collectors. Producers with high-capacity evaporating equipment are matched up with neighbors with tappable maple trees. With minimal investment and the right knowledge, these neighbors provide the sap needed to increase production. Future Generations staff offer technical assistance for satellite sap collectors to get into the business too.

Despite the maple industry’s historical roots, new technologies are constantly emerging to increase production efficiency and promote cost savings. Supported by ongoing research, Future Generations works with syrup producers to stay on top of the latest technologies and increase their syrup production.

Many agencies and organizations exist to help local entrepreneurs. Seeing the need for a consolidation of resources available to the maple syrup producer, we are creating a Handbook for the West Virginian Maple Entrepreneur. From agencies that provide funding for environmental stewardship to business coaching—if there’s a way to help the syrup producer, it will be identified and promoted.

Initial Area of Focus Will Include:

Grant Hardy Pendleton Randolph Webster Pocahontas Nicholas Greenbrier Summers Lincoln & Wayne Counties

is supported through the generosity of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. This project advances the Benedum Foundation’s strategic priority of economic development based on natural assets.

MAPLE SAP COLLECTION & SYRUP PROCESSING CERTIFICATE

The Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing certificate course combines field work field practice with online instruction and a mentoring internship with a local maple syrup producer. Course participants will be preparing themselves to join the growing maple industry in West Virginia and the central Appalachians. Upon completion of the course, participants receive 1-year membership into the West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Association!

This component of the course will have students and faculty  for a 3-day weekend training program. There may be a second session further north in the state contingent upon high enrollment.

Specific skills you will learn during these weekend programs are:

  • Evaluating your woods for sap production
  • Setting up collection systems
  • Evaporation to make syrup

This Certificate is currently on hold due to travel constraints (COVID 19), updated courses will be posted at a later date.

Participants are only required to attend one of these sessions.

Over the course of the sugaring season, arrangements will be made for course participants to work with local maple syrup producers.

There will be four 3-hour sessions that cover:

  • Tapping out
  • Running an evaporator
  • Bottling and labeling product
  • Cleanup and pulling taps at the end of the season

Jan 8th-April 8

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Set up a sap collection system
  • Evaporate sap to make maple syrup
  • Understand the science behind sap and syrup production
  • Evaluate the economic potential of the maple industry as it relates to their livelihood objectives

Contact: Karen Milnes
Learning Management Coordinator,
Future Generations University
Call: 304-358-2000
Email:karen.milnes@future.edu

$50 registration fee to sign up. Total cost of certificate dependent on the options that you select.
Special financing options exist– call for more details!

  • $200 – Includes Registration Fee & Certificate
  • $300 – Includes Registration, Certificate & Accommodations

Our Partners in Service

West Virginia Department of Agriculture

West Virginia Veterans & Warriors to Agriculture

West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance