Maple King

Conservation Student Is First NYS Maple King
Posted on 01/28/2020
Maple King

Conservation senior Kyle Hale has been named New York State’s first-ever Maple King!

Kyle, a MOBOCES student from Canastota, received the honor during the Mid-Winter Maple Classic annual state conference in January. The conference is hosted jointly by the New York State Maple Producers Association and the New York FFA Alumni.

For the remainder of the year, Kyle will serve as an ambassador for the state’s maple industry, appearing, speaking and presenting during fairs, parades, festivals, conferences and other events. He and the Maple Queen have started an Instagram account to chronicle their work this year - @nysmapleroyalty - which they hope to pass on to their successors next year.

Several counties around the state have had maple kings before, but no males have applied or competed before for the title at the state level, said Laurie Jean Britton, coordinator of the NYS Maple King/Queen Contest. Once their written application is accepted, candidates complete a private panel interview, a prepared speech and answer spontaneous questions during the competition.

kyle and griffo“Maple experience helps, but enthusiasm is really the big thing. We want our ambassadors to be good representatives of the maple industry,” Britton said. “Kyle had some great ideas, so we’re eager to see what he and the queen do this year.”

Kyle said one of his passions is promoting the agriculture industry.

I love advocating for agriculture and FFA” he said. “I am extremely lucky to have this position and be able to do something I love.”

Kyle developed an interest in maple as a sophomore. He began learning as much as he could about the industry and tapped five trees to see if he enjoyed the work. As a junior, he enrolled in the Conservation program at MOBOCES, learning as much as he could from teacher Don Van Slyke. He eventually grew to tapping 50 trees.

He plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and a master’s degree in agriculture education, with a goal of becoming an agriculture teacher.

He has been active with FFA for five years and has served as Canastota’s chapter president for the past four years, representing his school, county and state at the New York State Fair, at various conferences and competitions, and through a new travelling Maple Experience educational exhibit. Last year, he earned his Empire Degree from NYS FFA and is currently working on his American Degree from the National FFA; he also plans to run again for state office this spring.