The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) today announced the opening of the newly rebuilt Arnot Maple Research and Teaching laboratory, which will house the first-of-its-kind new maple product development lab in the country. Following 2018’s Forestry and Wood Products Summit, convened by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State invested $500,000 in the laboratory to facilitate further growth and innovation in New York’s maple industry. The opening of the brand new 4,200-square-foot state-of-the-art facility was celebrated today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the renovations, which include a new commercial kitchen and increased capacity for research and development of new maple products.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Cornell’s Arnot Maple Research and Teaching facility conducts groundbreaking research that is critical to the growth of our state’s maple industry, which contributes significantly to the state’s ag economy. With the help of funding from New York State, new improvements to the laboratory will allow researchers to develop new maple products and improve existing ones, providing a boost to New York’s maple producers and supplying even more delicious maple products to people across the state.”
Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, “This state-of-the-art facility positions New York’s already thriving maple industry for new successes and that’s a win for maple researchers, producers and consumers alike. We’re grateful for the continued support of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the advocacy of New York State Senate Agriculture committee chair Senator Michele Hinchey and New York State Assembly Agriculture committee chair assembly member Donna Lupardo to bring this space to life.”
Located in the Arnot Research Forest, the Arnot Maple Research and Teaching facility plays a pivotal role in conducting research and extension activities in support of New York’s maple industry. The new facility includes a fully equipped, 20-C commercial kitchen, which Cornell estimates will contribute to the creation of at least twenty new maple-based products annually, such as maple soda, beer, wine, kombucha, chocolate, and sports drinks. This will support dozens of new jobs in rural areas of New York State, like the Southern Tier. The renovations also include the installation of a new vacuum system, which includes over 50 miles of tubing spread over four miles of forest; a new filtration unit; several new, 2,000-gallon stainless steel storage tanks, a reverse osmosis system, and evaporators; classroom space; and two identical production lines, so that multiple research trials can be run at the same time, bringing the facility’s research into the 21st century.
In recent years, research conducted at the laboratory has resulted in new technologies developed in reverse osmosis, taphole sanitation practices, and new gravity flow check valves. These innovations have helped smaller maple producers reduce their energy footprint from 50 to 80% by utilizing newer technology.
The revitalization of the facility comes as a result of the Forestry and Wood Products Summit. First announced in the Governor's 2018-19 State of the State address, this summit explored new developments and strategies to boost this economically important sector, which is a major component of New York’s economy and open spaces.
Discussions during the summit focused on opportunities to expand clean technology and invest in research and development, the importance of growing markets like the maple industry, workforce development and training needs, and continued education and promotion to bolster the industry. Based on the input of these key stakeholders, several innovative actions, such as the investment in the Arnot Maple Research and Teaching facility, were announced to increase opportunities for businesses in this agricultural sector.
Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers’ Association said, “On behalf of the entire New York State Maple Producers’ Association, we would like to share our appreciation to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for everything they have done to make today possible. Today marks the first step toward a bright and more prosperous future for the maple industry and the State of New York. We love NYS and pure NYS maple syrup. Here’s to a sweet future!”
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair of the NYS Assembly Agricultural Committee said, “In order for New York to remain a leader in maple production, we have to make strategic investments in the industry. This state-of-the-art research and training facility will allow the maple industry to grow though innovation; developing new products and new technologies. As a lover of all things maple, I can’t wait to see what comes out of this first of its kind maple product lab. I’m also looking forward to seeing the economic opportunities provided to our maple producers as a result of this development.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the NYS Senate Agricultural Committee said, “In New York, we’re proud to be the second leading producer of fresh maple in the country, and now that renovations on the maple product development lab are complete, we have a huge opportunity to drive innovation and further the growth of the industry as a whole. Channeling the expertise of our researchers and producers, a wide variety of new maple products and analysis will come from the state-of-the-art Arnot Maple Research and Teaching facility, in turn creating new revenue streams for producers across the state and delicious local products for consumers. This is a proud moment in our state’s agricultural history and a critical step in advancing New York maple forward.”
About New York’s Maple Industry
New York State ranks second in the nation for maple production, producing 804,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2020. New York is also home to the largest resource of tappable maple trees within the United States and more than 2,000 maple sugar makers. The industry has an annual estimated economic impact of $30 million. The Department of Agriculture and Markets supports the maple industry through the New York State Budget—which includes funding for promotion and educational programs—as well as through investments in research projects and through its NYS Grown & Certified marketing program.