PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A group of senators requested federal funding of at least $5 million for maple syrup producers and distributors on Friday. This initiative was led by Senators Angus King, Chris Murphy, and Debbie Stabenow.

The politicians highlighted the importance of the Acer Access and Development Program in a letter addressed to members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.

This program assists maple syrup producers to increase production, enhance conservation efforts, and rank in the global maple syrup economy. President Trump did not include any mention of funding for this program in his budget proposal for the Fiscal Year of 2018.

In the letter, King and colleagues wrote, “'Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers spread across the country… [and] is also a critical conservation crop, which helps to keep our forests in production, conserves important lands, protects water quality, and provides a valuable economic benefit to rural communities...'"

Maine ranked third for maple syrup production in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The harvest was worth approximately $15.5 million.