MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The United States and Canada produced record amounts of maple syrup this year, thanks to the weather and more people getting into the business or expanding their operations.
U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics released this month show the U.S. produced 4.2 million gallons, the greatest amount since record-keeping began in 1916.
Vermont is by far the country's largest producer of maple syrup. The state yielded 1.9 million gallons this year, beating the previous record of 1.48 million gallons set in 2013, according to Henry Marckres, the maple specialist at the Vermont agency of agriculture.
Bruce Burnor said his family's maple operation in Eden, Vermont, had its best year ever — producing 800 gallons, up from the previous record of 550 gallons.
"The weather was perfect. We had cold nights, warm days — that's what you need," he said.
Vermont also had a tremendous increase in the number of taps in trees, which has jumped from around a million about 15 years ago to nearly 5 million now, Marckres said.
"Because the price has been good and stable, we've had many more people get into the business. Others expand," Marckres said. "The price, while it went down a little bit this year for bulk syrup, it didn't go down a lot, and the markets seem really strong so I'm in hopes that there will be a home for everything that's produced."
Maple syrup retails for an average of about $48 to $52 per gallon, and Marckres doesn't expect the quantity of syrup produced to affect prices for consumers.
In terms of syrup produced, New York was second with 707,000 gallons, followed by Maine, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.
Canada, which supplies about 70 percent of the world's maple syrup, also had a banner year with about 13.5 million gallons — a 23 percent increase from the previous record set in 2013. Quebec produces about 90 percent of Canada's syrup.
"We've never seen a harvest of this magnitude," said Serge Beaulieu, president of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.
Quebec produces about 90 percent of Canada's syrup.