Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing

Interested in sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship? This training program in Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing will lead you along your way to joining the growing sap and syrup industry in West Virginia. Future Generations University is partnering with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the WV Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program to offer this program designed to help people get into the maple syrup business. This program is open to all interested in maple production. Special scholarships are available for veterans and educational groups.

The Maple Sap and Syrup Collection training combines lecture and field work with internship experience and mentoring to get you in business. The training options include:

  • 4 weeks of online training program
  • 2-day workshop on Sap Collection
  • 2-day workshop on Syrup Processing
    • Choose one or both of the workshops to participate in
  • Mentorship sessions in the spring with a Maple Producer

The course includes four optional internship sessions where you work with local producers as the tap their trees, process their sap, and close out their season. In addition, all who complete the course are eligible for two free consultations, where an area producer will spend time with you establishing your sugaring operation.

Bethany Boyer-Rechlin tapping out at the Dry Fork Maple Works, WV, photo credit M. Rechlin
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This certificate is a collaborative partnership between the WV Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture, the WV Department of Agriculture, and Future Generations University.

Schedule:
  • Course duration: October 23rd through November 23rd
  • Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing is a an optional credit-bearing course
  • The course will have 4 units of online instruction, including:
    • Readings from Maple Syrup: An Introduction to a Forest Treasure by course instructor Mike Rechlin
    • Supplemental reading assignments on the courses learning platform
    • Assignments that relate to your sugaring operation
    • Weekly synchronous online class sessions using video conferencing
  • This training program combines both online learning, with fieldwork, followed by a mentorship
  • Field Mentoring from January 8th to April 1st: Arrangements can be made for participants to work in as many as four half-day sessions with a local syrup producer. Each half-day focuses on a different activity:
    • Tapping Out
    • Maintaining and repairing tubing lines
    • Making maple syrup
    • End of season cleanup, marketing, sales

To stay updated on course planning and required readings and documents, please click here.

Cost:
This certificate course is open to the general public for a cost of $655.00 that includes

  • A registration fee of $50.00, charged at the time of registration in order to access the course webpage and online content
  • A certificate Cost of $400.00
  • A residential Fee of $100.00 per weekend is available to participants who would like to participate in the hands-on learning

Qualified West Virginia Veterans will be eligible for funding through the WV Department of Veterans Affairs Re Education Act. This certificate is also GI Bill eligible for veterans located outside of West Virginia. The remainder of the balance ($605) will be charged in two installments, the first of which must be paid no later than October 31st. Future Generations is also offering scholarships to Gold Star Families (families that have lost a member in military conflict). This scholarship will carry a $50 registration fee, and the remainder of the course fees are covered under the scholarship.These fees cover books, the WVMSPA membership, the optional consultation, all academic and lab fees, and residential fees. This cost does NOT cover expenses for travel to or from weekend sessions in the fall or travel, lodging, or meals during the internship/mentoring in the spring.

Please call (304)358-2000 to find out more pricing and enrollment options.

Travel:
This certificate allows you to travel to two full weekend sessions, if you choose, during the fall to be held in West Virginia. The certificate also requires travel to a local producer’s land for four work sessions during the spring 2018 maple syrup season for your internship.

Mike Rechlin at an evaporator at the Mason Hollow sugarbush, Grafton, IL, photo credit G. Cooke

The program will be taught by Dr. Mike Rechlin, member of the West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Association Board of Directors, Author of Maple Syrup: An Introduction to the Science of a Forest Treasure, and WVDA Commodity Technical Assistant.

Click Here: how to create an account and register for the course