CHARLESTON - West Virginia maple syrup production nearly doubled in 2019, according to the latest numbers from a report conducted by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Production rose from 8,000 gallons of syrup in 2018 to 14,000 gallons during this year's season, which ran from early February through mid-March, according to the report.
West Virginia maple syrup producers reported sap collections as early as Jan. 15 and as late as April 4, according to West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.
"Collaboration and hard work have led to the continued growth of our maple syrup industry. Over the last few years, we have seen more and more people jump at the opportunity to start their own business," Leonhardt said in a news release. "Every year our producers learn from the previous to better their operations, which furthers best management practices in the state."
According to the report, the average price per gallon of maple syrup came in at $44.60 for 2018, a 22% increase from the previous year. Bulk prices for maple syrup also increased, up 20 cents to $2.90 per pound in 2018. Sixty percent of the 2019 harvest was sold bulk, 23% retail and 17% wholesale.
In addition to increased sale numbers, the number of tapped trees in West Virginia expanded from 66,000 in 2018 to 80,000 in 2019. Yield per tap in 2019 came in at 0.175 gallons, up from 0.121 in 2018, the report showed.
"West Virginia's maple industry continues to grow while the national market remains stagnant. The average price for a gallon of syrup in the U.S. totaled $33. That's $11 less than West Virginia maple syrup," WVDA Agriculture Business Director Cassey Bowden said in the release. "That increased price is most likely being driven by a commitment to local producers from consumers."