January 9, 2024
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear producers, delegates and partners,
First and foremost, I'd like to wish you all the best for the year 2024 : happiness, health, and prosperity...and that includes an excellent maple season this spring!
On December 21, you received an invitation to our association's next congress, to be held in Fredericton on January 26 and 27. In my message, I expressed my exasperation with the sometimes-difficult relations with the government and certain constraints related to access to new allocations on Crown land. The next day, after sending this message, the Department of Natural Resources informed us of important changes to certain "protected zones" that would now be accessible for maple syrup production. This unexpected announcement represents a major gain for many producers (and aspiring producers), who can now look forward to developing more easily accessible maple stands that, in some cases, are practically glued to the boundaries of existing maple groves.
This announcement doesn't solve all the problems, and I'm aware that some producers face other types of challenges in their expansion plans. But it is an important sign of listening and openness on the part of Ministers Holland and Johnson, as well as government officials in the Departments of Natural Resources (Energy Development) and Agriculture (Aquaculture and Fisheries) who are committed to the advancement of the maple syrup industry in New Brunswick. As any association that serves its members, we must not shy away from denouncing problematic situations that hamper the development of our industry. But we must also salute successes when they occur, and recognize the efforts of many people, including government employees, who are working to ensure the growth and success of our industry.
In the wake of this important change, and following a survey conducted by the Association among its members, who overwhelmingly expressed a desire to extend the deadline for the tendering process, the provincial government announced that the new deadline for the submission of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) would be March 31, 2024, rather than January 31 as originally planned.
In closing, for those who haven't already done so, I invite you to join us on January 26 and 27 at the Delta Hotel in Fredericton by registering now for the annual convention. It's an unmissable opportunity to meet, socialize, discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our industry, and talk about development with our partners and other key contacts.
We look forward to seeing you all in just two weeks!
December 21, 2023
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear producers, delegates and partners,
I'd like to extend a warm welcome to all at your maple syrup association's 21st convention.
Because our annual gathering is also a time to take stock of the year just ended, it's safe to say that 2023 has been a roller-coaster ride. First of all, last spring's harvest failed to live up to expectations, rivalling that of 2018 in terms of mediocrity. That's the nature of our industry, with its good and bad seasons, and we have to look at things in the long term. The fact remains that a year like this has major financial repercussions for our companies. Fortunately, the Association has obtained a one-year stay of repayment for participants in the Advance Payment Program (APP). It doesn't make up for the shortfall, but it does offer a reprieve, while hoping that the 2024 season will quickly make us forget the previous one.
Speaking of the long term, we have finally seen the culmination of several years of waiting, after many representations and demands, to obtain new allocations on Crown land. The 5,000 hectares obtained are certainly an important gain and a step in the right direction. But many producers, and others who aspire to become producers, were quickly disillusioned when they learned of certain conditions imposed, including, among others, the famous new protected zones established in the potential areas identified for development or expansion. All our efforts to engage in a real dialogue with the province on this subject, in an attempt to obtain a minimum of flexibility, have so far failed. I can only conclude two things. One; our association and our industry are not recognized as privileged interlocutors, listened to and respected, by government authorities. And two, there is no real vision for the future and development of the maple syrup industry in New Brunswick.
There are, of course, programs and initiatives that help our development, and we're grateful for them. But this is not a vision. It's not a concerted effort on the part of all government departments and stakeholders to develop a prosperous New Brunswick maple syrup industry that stands out for its approach and the quality of its products, locally, nationally and internationally. We certainly have a few allies, in government departments and among politicians, who believe in us and want to see our industry prosper and take its rightful place. But this attitude needs to be generalized and embraced by all. I repeat: we need a clear vision for the development of our industry and consistent public policies. Unfortunately, this is not the case at present.
Having said that, the Board of Directors and staff members, starting with our Executive Director, have not been idle this year. As well as continuing with our regular activities, we've been thinking about and working on ways to strengthen our association's operations and increase our membership. You'll hear all about it this weekend, and you'll also be asked to vote on proposals to this effect at our Annual General Meeting on Sunday. Proposals which you will receive in advance with your invitation to the convention.
I want to thank you for your commitment to your association and for being here this weekend. I hope you have the chance to make some pleasant acquaintances, and I wish us all excellent deliberations.
In the heart of downtown Fredericton at the Delta Hotel, on January 26 and 27, join over 150 maple syrup producers, equipment manufacturers, financial institutions, speakers and government partners for the NBMSA 2024 Annual Conference, Exhibit and AGM.
The annual convention is a key event for addressing the many facets of maple syrup production: the latest trends, technological advances, as well as the specialized programs that influence the sector.
With programming carefully crafted around the theme of Strategic Alliances for Innovation and Growth, New Brunswick's largest gathering of maple syrup producers will benefit from the tools and information you need to innovate and grow your business.
It's an event not to be missed!
January 20, 2024
Deadline to register at the congress.