U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer believes a sweet liquid gold has untapped value for the North Country.
Schumer is pushing for legislation in the form of the Maple TAP Act that he hopes will make New York the largest producer of maple syrup in the world and create jobs and profits for local businesses in the process.
The empire state is estimated to have more maple trees than any other maple producing state or Provence, including Vermont Maine and Quebec.
In the North Country, the epicenter of New York's maple industry, there are 70 million potential new taps, and the TAP Act could help bring in an additional $19 million in revenue per year.
But the state currently taps less than 1 percent of its nearly 300 million maple trees, forcing the U.S. to import four times as much maple syrup as it produces.
"Despite reports that tapping season has begun, hundreds of millions of untapped trees are just sitting there, full of a lucrative natural resource that could propel New York to the top of the maple industry, as well as provide a huge economic boost and new jobs to maple-rich Upstate," Schumer said in a press release.
Schumer's Maple TAP Act would provide grants of up to $20 million per year to states that create programs to help maple farmers tap into trees that are currently untapped on private lands.
The grants could be used to encourage private landowners to expand their tapping operations or voluntarily make their land available for maple tapping.
The state has not been able to take full advantage of its maple resources in part because nearly three quarters of the 'tappable' maple trees are on privately owned land, according to Schumer. This potentially leaves over $80 million worth of maple sap inside the trees, he said.