Bill exempts maple sap transport from seasonal road restrictions
State Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, today welcomed maple syrup producers from the Upper and Lower peninsulas to the Capitol to testify in support of House Bill 4418 before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
HB 4418, sponsored by Rep. Chatfield, adds maple sap to the list of agricultural commodities in the section of the Michigan Vehicle Code that grants an exception to seasonal weight limits for vehicles transporting agricultural commodities. Once extracted from the trees, maple syrup producers have a limited number of hours to transport sap to production facilities before it spoils.
“This legislation will create an easier road for our state’s hard-working maple syrup producers by removing a barrier and making it more efficient and less burdensome to produce Michigan-made maple syrup,” Rep. Chatfield said. “I believe there is a lot of potential to grow this industry which will strengthen our local and state economies.”
While Michigan ranks seventh in the nation in maple syrup production, according to the Commercial Maple Syrup Producers of Michigan, the state only taps .02 percent of its potential maple trees, and only 1 percent of Michigan’s maple forest resource is used in maple syrup production.
“Michigan possesses the trees and has the climate and other attributes that make it well-suited for increased production. Maple syrup is another brand of Pure Michigan that has the potential to be sold across the entire country and around the world,” Rep. Chatfield said.