Maple producers at risk in Eastern Ontario due to derecho

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Maple producers at risk in Eastern Ontario due to derecho

Uprooted tree at Conroy Pit (archives)

More than two months after the derecho hit eastern Ontario and western Quebec, many maple syrup producers are appealing for help to minimize losses from storm damage historical. The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (CUPR) have made a formal request to the Ford government on behalf of producers in the region.

Jules Rochon, maple syrup producer and president of the Eastern Ontario Maple Syrup Association, estimates that he lost more than 40% of his production due to the storm. He fears more for the trees that are still standing. Quietly, they begin to descend. 10% of the trees are still going to fall, explains Mr. Rochon.

Jules Rochon, maple syrup producer and president of the Eastern Ontario Maple Syrup Association, is considering withdraw from the industry due to financial difficulties related to the derecho of May 21.

Like many, he is now thinking of retiring from the industry, even if he expects to have restored even a part of his production next spring.

There is an evaluation taking place. […] The world is going to withdraw from this industry, because there is no help, there is nothing. If you don't have any more trees to tap, at the current price of land, everyone is removing woodlots everywhere, laments the maple syrup producer.

Since the derecho hit the region, Jules Rochon says he has managed to clean up between 65% and 70% of his land, but he has not received any help from the provincial government to do so. He could only rely on his family.

“It was a great job opportunity for Mr. Ford. […] We should have looked at this from an economic point of view. None of that happened, we're still waiting. »

— Jules Rochon, maple syrup producer and president of the Eastern Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association

Jean Saint-Pierre, vice-president of Boisé Est, a group of woodlot owners, confirms that no program at the provincial level has been put in place to support its members.

It's important for everyone, not just the owners of Boisé Est. All people in a society benefit from having trees that perform such important services for everyone, he argues.

Jean Saint-Pierre, vice-president of the Boisé Est organization, would like to stress the importance of properly maintaining the wooded.

The Boisé Est organization has made it its mission to restore the woods in the region that have been the most affected. People need financial support, technical support. In Boisé Est, we have some expertise in this area, but financially, we are a non-profit organization. We don't have the financial resources, continues Mr. Saint-Pierre.

Boisé Est has also set itself the goal of improving the practices of woodlot owners with regard to the preservation their land, by offering them expertise.

Hope lies for the moment with the federal government, which, according to Jean Saint-Pierre, has established a program that meets the needs of its members.

Trees that have been destroyed should ideally be replaced with healthy young trees to bring back the ability of forests to absorb greenhouse gases, he explains. Trees are very important, forests are very important, and that's why we try to find programs to help people.

With information from Christian Milette

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