The latest numbers from a report conducted by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and USDA-NASS show West Virginia maple syrup production nearly doubled in 2019.

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. West Virginia maple syrup producers reported sap collections as early as Jan. 15 and as late as April 4, the release said.

“Collaboration and hard work have led to the continued growth of our maple syrup industry,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in the release. “Over the last few years, we have seen more and more people jump at the opportunity to start their own business.”

Leonhardt said every year the state’s producers learn from the previous to better their operations, which furthers best management practices in the state.

The average price per gallon of maple syrup came in at $44.60 for 2018, a 22 percent increase from the previous year. Bulk prices for maple syrup also increased, up 20 cents to $2.90 per pound in 2018. Of the 2019 harvest, 60 percent was sold bulk — 23 percent retail and 17 percent wholesale.

In addition to increased sale numbers, the number of tapped trees in West Virginia also expanded from 66,000 in 2018 to 80,000 in 2019. Yield per tap in 2019 came in at 0.175 gallon, up from 0.121 in 2018.

“West Virginia’s maple industry continues to grow while the national market remains stagnant,” WVDA Agriculture Business Director Cassey Bowden said. “The average price for a gallon of syrup in the U.S. totaled $33; that’s $11 less than West Virginia maple syrup.

“That increased price is most likely being driven by a commitment to local producers from consumers.” 

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren