Richard L. Gast, Extension program educator II, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Energy, agriculture programs assistant, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Phone 483-7403, fax 483-6214 or email

The Franklin County Maple (Producers) Association (FCMA), in cooperation with Brushton Moira Central School (BMCS) Future Farmers of America and Cornell Cooperative Extension, has been organizing their 2nd Annual Franklin County Maple School. 

The all-day event will be held at BMCS on the Gale Road (County Route 7 just south of U.S. Route 11) in Brushton on Feb. 1. The event will offer a wide range of informational and hands-on classes and workshops that will be of interest to seasoned producers, less-experienced sugar makers, and anyone interested in learning the ins and outs of making maple syrup or managing a sugarbush. 

Topics include cutting-edge sugarbush management and maple-syrup production technologies; state-of-the-art sugaring and sugar production related equipment, machinery and tools and how to use them; and universally accepted methods for collecting sap and making high-quality maple syrup and value-added maple-sugar products.

It’s also a chance to expand your understanding of large-production and small-farm sugaring operations and how these family-run businesses produce hundreds of gallons of quality maple syrup every year.

Educational classes include Getting Started in Your Maple Operation; New York State Maple; Pricing for Profitability; Marketing, Regulations and Food Processing; Funding Opportunities; Using Social Media to Promote Your Maple Business; 25 Ways to Develop a More Profitable Sugaring Operation; Filtering and Canning; Reverse Osmosis; Sugarbush Management: Thinning Your Forest; Sugarbush Management: Managing Beech; Forest Management Plans: How to Get the Most out of Maple Stands and Reduce Taxes; Forest Management: Generating Income from Your Woodlot Other than Maple; Confections: Making Cream and Candy; Confections: Making Maple Coated Popcorn; Tubing Forum; and Stainless Steel Welding.

Presenters include specialists from Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District professionals, maple-syrup producers and industry consultants.

This is a truly diverse group of folks. All of them bring insights, knowledge, experience and expertise to the event. And all will be available to answer questions and address concerns.

The variety of classes are intended to meet the requirements of just about anyone interested in maple. Whether you’re a large-scale producer who sells to wholesale markets, a small sugar maker who sells direct from your home or at the farmers’ markets, a backyard or would-be home maple-syrup maker or just a curious consumer, the school will have something for you.

You can also attend the trade show, which will showcase equipment and supplies. Several makers of maple products will have their wares displayed for sale, too. In addition, representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, New York Forest Owners Association and the Wild Center will oversee tables with handouts and be available to answer questions.

Attendees may support the artisans and craftspeople who will be on hand displaying their skills and handiwork. And take a little time to look over the variety of items being offered by the flea-market vendors who will be selling their goods as well.

If you would like to attend the Maple School, participate as a vendor, or sell maple sugaring or related equipment through the auction, you can find registration forms at

The cost, which includes lunch, is $20 if you register in advance or $25 at the door. Vendor table space is $10 if you bring your own table or $20 if you would like the FFA to provide a table for you. Lunch is extra. The fee for selling equipment at the auction is 10 percent of the sale price charged to the seller. Other terms and conditions apply.

We live in one of comparatively few places in the world where maple-sugar production is even possible. And worldwide demand continues to grow. A maple school like this one represents an exceptional opportunity to learn about maple-syrup production from the trees to the table, about the sustainable forestry practices that make it possible, and much more.

If you are a forest owner with a suitable site, growing sugar maples and managing your stand for sugar production can maximize the use of your resources and allow you to leave a healthy, productive forest, a lasting resource, and a working agribusiness to your heirs.

Plan to attend.

Richard L. Gast, Extension program educator II, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Energy, agriculture programs assistant, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Call 483-7403, fax 483-6214 or email