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N.B. extends sugar bush maintenance funding

The New Brunswick government will put up $300,000 in fiscal 2009 for thinning and spacing work in the province’s maple sugar bushes.

Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles, who in January pledged to maple syrup producers that he would work to ensure the silviculture program funding continued, announced the new funds Tuesday.

The funds pledged Tuesday will flow through the New Brunswick Regional Development Corporation’s Total Development Fund, and will go toward work done in the provincial fiscal year starting April 1.

“We recognize the contributions that maple syrup producers make to our provincial economy, and we want to see these operations become more productive, efficient and profitable.”

Thinning and spacing remove unhealthy trees, and allow sugar bush stands to grow more quickly and produce higher-quality trees, the province said.

Tuesday’s announcement follows a Jan. 29 pledge from Premier Shawn Graham for $5 million, also starting April 1, to fund silviculture operations on Crown land.

According to the province, New Brunswick ranks among the largest producers of maple syrup products in the world, with about 300 operations producing four million pounds of syrup each season, representing $12 million in revenues locally, nationally, and through exports of syrup and value-added products to the U.S. and other countries.

The industry employs over 2,000 seasonal workers each year, the province added.

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