West Chazy, New York
“We encourage entrepreneurs. Anyone who has a new idea relating to agriculture, we want to meet with them. We want to help them get started.” -Suzanne Petig
As a fourth-generation maple producer, Michael Parker co-owns Parker Family Maple in West Chazy, New York, with his father Earl.
The Parkers run a 90,000 tap operation, one of the biggest in the country, producing more than 40,000 gallons of syrup each year. In addition to maple production, Parker Family Maple supports the maple sugarmaker community through advice, equipment sales and service. They also host a variety of events on their property, including pancake breakfasts, sugarhouse tours, demonstrations and horse-drawn wagon rides.
The Parkers have worked with Farm Credit East for 10 years. Recently, they collaborated on an infrastructure expansion project. “Farm Credit East has helped to fulfill all my dreams for this new sugarhouse. Nobody understands agriculture the way Farm Credit East does,” Michael said.
What excites Farm Credit East most about working with customers like the Parkers is their drive towards innovation. Suzanne Petig, the Parkers’ loan officer, said, “We encourage entrepreneurs. Anyone who has a new idea relating to agriculture, we want to meet with them. We want to help them get started.”
The Parkers took Suzanne up on her offer. They approached her with an idea to put in a new monitoring system. Michael said, “Most lenders probably would not be that interested in financing a new concept idea like that, but Farm Credit East understood the need that we had for it.”
Looking over a grove of 200-year-old maples, Michael reflected on his family’s history. His great grandfather started tapping the family’s trees in 1889, and Michael looks forward to the day when his own son will be tapping the same trees for some 20, 30, 50 years into the future.