Many landowners seek entrepreneurial opportunities from their woodlands, as a way to offset management costs or as part of a business venture. Traditional opportunities have emphasized extraction of fiber (timber, firewood, pulp) or land rental fees (hunting leases), and of course maple syrup production.
The buying and selling of sap has also been part of the rural tradition of woodland enterprises. Often, though, the process for the transaction, how to value the sap, and how to arrange this venture from either a buyer's or seller's perspective is less well understood. Selling sap provides opportunities for owners who need to ease into the production system, but can't afford all of the upfront costs. Buying sap provides an opportunity for producers who have processing equipment that is underutilized. The arrangement can be a significant win-win for both parties.
A webinar on "Economics of Buying and Selling Sap" was offered February 17, 2016 through the ForestConnect program and presented by Dr. Michael Farrell, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Director of Uihlein Sugar Maple Research Forest. Mike has studied different buy/sell configurations and developed a systematic protocol to understand the value of sap for sale.
A description of the 2/17/2016 webinar:
Purchasing raw sap can be one of the most profitable ways of expanding maple syrup production. OR it can be a losing proposition that just adds stress and extra work to your sugaring operation. This workshop covers everything you need to know if you are already buying sap or considering doing so in the future. You will learn how to determine whether buying/selling sap will be profitable for your operation and the finer points of getting into the sap buying business. The webinar will go through an Excel spreadsheet to help you answer the following questions. How much can I afford to pay for sap and how do I go about pricing it? Will I actually make money buying in raw sap? What should I be concerned about when buying sap? Attendees will all receive a copy of the Excel spreadsheet and a full understanding of how to utilize it.
A pdf of the presentation is here economics.of.buying.sap.webinar.2016.pdf
The MS Excel spreadsheet, described in the youtube video is here. Watch the video to understand how to correctly use the spreadsheet. cornell.sap.buying.spreadsheet.january.2016.xls