Maple syrup, for example, is one of Canada's most important and highly visible products; it is a cogent symbol of Canadian identity, both nationally and abroad as well as a harbinger of spring for many Canadians. Although its value to the Canadian economy may pale in comparison with, say, wheat or soybeans, maple syrup trumps the vast wheat fields of Manitoba and Saskatchewan when it comes to Canadian cultural identity.
The maple syrup industry has become very professional over the last decade. The increase in supply even allowed quotas to be increased these past years. Since 2008, Canadian maple syrup production has increased significantly. The country produced about 8.9 million gallons of maple syrup in 2015; 8.09 million gallons of that was produced in the Canadian province of Quebec which amounts to just over 90 percent of the entire country's maple syrup production share. Moreover, numerous opportunities continue to arise in the industry such as the general growth of export markets. In 2014, Canada exported over 38 million kilograms of maple products throughout the world which in turn generated almost 310 million Canadian dollars. Even though some U.S. states produce maple syrup, the United States is still the leading importer of Canadian maple products.
Maple syrup production is economically and culturally important for Canada and some parts of the United States. Producing maple syrup is an alternative agricultural enterprise that utilizes a natural resource base (both existing and potential) and promotes rural sustainability. What distinguishes maple syrup production from other crops is the relative permanence of the trees that yield the crop. Instead of harvesting maple trees for wood products and generating an income right away, maple syrup allows income to be generated over the life of the tree.