In this April 2020 file photo, Scott Dunn stirs maple syrup in the finishing tank before the final filtering stage at the Dunn Family Maple sugar house in Buxton, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

PORTLAND, Maine — Producers of maple syrup, a major agricultural product in northern U.S. states, are now eligible for financial relief to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Maple syrup is an economic driver in states such as Vermont, New York and Maine, which are the top three producers in the U.S. The industry, like many sectors of agriculture, has taken a hit from the pandemic, which canceled events such as Maine Maple Sunday.

Politicians from northern states, including Maine Gov. Janet Mills and the state’s Congressional delegation, have pushed for aid for syrup producers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that producers of the sap used to make maple syrup are now eligible for direct financial relief.

“Like many pillars of our economy, Maine’s maple syrup producers have suffered unprecedented financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Mills said.

Maine alone is home to more than 550 maple syrup producers.