SWEET SUCCESS — Maple vendors pack the gyms at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill with the latest in maple equipment. More than 1,000 people attended the event in 2017. (Photo submitted)

VVS FFA gears up for popular conference

Published Dec 4, 2017 at 4:00pm

VERONA — Dubbed the “Grand Daddy” of Maple Conferences, the Verona Maple Conference has become a “Must See” of sorts for maple producers from virtually every corner of the maple world, according to event organizers.

With a reputation as the largest gathering of maple producers anywhere in the world, this year’s conference is scheduled for Jan. 5 and 6 at the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School.

The day-and-a-half event is hosted by the VVS FFA student organization in conjunction with the Cornell University Maple Team and New York Maple Producers Association, according to the an announcement by the VVS FFA.

Featuring the largest trade show of its kind in North America, more than 50 maple vendors, equipment manufacturers, supply dealers, and maple product distributors highlight the latest trends, newest technologies, advanced practices, and improved techniques for all phases of sap collection, maple syrup production, value-added processes, and marketing strategies for maple products, the FFA announcement added. 

New equipment, ideas, and developments in maple production will be on display. Vacuum systems, including the use of 3/16” tubing to create natural vacuum systems, are available for purchase along with tubing spouts and other high-vacuum components. Implementation of advanced technologies and techniques has led to higher sap yields throughout the industry. Other equipment on display will include reverse osmosis machines, evaporators, sap monitoring systems, tubing parts and tools, and every supply available to maple producers. Virtually every major maple equipment manufacturer participates in the Verona Maple conference.

In recent years, the maple industry has grown substantially in both production and marketing; industry leaders attribute part of that development to the Verona annual conference and forum to compare notes, share strategies, and promote the maple industry in a positive manner to both the producer and end consumer. 

Education is a key component and focus of the conference, organizers added.

In addition to the trade show, the conference features approximately 40 workshops geared toward the maple producer. Conference participants may attend any of the workshops within the four designated timeslots. Leading maple researchers, presenters, maple confectioners and experienced industry producers share their knowledge and expertise in an open, interactive presentation format. Through demonstrations and discussions, participants have a great opportunity to learn from the best in our maple industry, organizers said. 

Conference registration opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday night; trade show begins at 5 p.m. with maple workshops scheduled between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m, A live maple equipment auction will be held Friday night at 6 p.m. Contact the VVS FFA to place items in the auction or to receive a listing of items prior to the auction. Saturday’s doors open at 7:30 a.m. with workshops beginning at 9 a.m. Deadline for pre-registration will be Dec. 10. All pre-registered attendees will be “first-served” at Saturday’s luncheon. Pre-registration receives a $25 discount from at-the-door registrations.