Cost-Share Program

The Mason-Lake Conservation District is offering cost share to farms in Mason, Manistee, and Western Lake Counties to help assist with achieving MAEAP verification. The four systems that farms can be MAEAP verified in include Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock, and Forest, Wetland, and Habitat. With these systems, there are certain management practices that farms need to implement to be MAEAP verified. Our cost share program is available to help farms achieve these practices, and farms that are one or two practices away from MAEAP verification are eligible to apply.  All MAEAP projects approved for cost share will receive a 50% reimbursement, up to a maximum of $500 per producer.

For additional information on practices that are included in the cost share and to find the application,   click here.

Landowners, are you interested in adopting better practices to protect your forest, wetland, or other habitat?  The Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat*A*Syst (FWH*A*Syst) is part of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and provides a way for you, the landowner, to examine and improve your current management practices in order to minimize negative impacts to the land and the water.  By getting your property MAEAP verified through the FWH*A*Syst, you are playing a positive role in the protection and sustainable management of our natural resources.

There are several steps involved to get your forest, wetland, or other habitat MAEAP verified through the FWH*A*Syst:

  1. Have a management plan written by a professional in the field of natural resources. This professional can be a forester, ecologist, or other natural resources professional.
  2. Meet with a Conservation District Forester and/or a MAEAP technician to complete the FWH*A*Syst risk assessment. The questions from the risk assessment are used to determine which of your practices need to be improved to minimize environmental impacts. A plan of action must be developed for any practices that need to be improved.
  3. Fulfill the MAEAP Phase 1 education requirement by attending a Phase 1 educational session or by viewing online Phase 1 media.
  4. Once you have fulfilled the education requirement and have developed a plan of action to improve practices that do not meet the MAEAP standards, you may contact an official MAEAP verifier to you have your forest, wetland, or other habitat verified through the MAEAP FWH*A*Syst.
  5. Upon successful verification, you will receive a sign that you can proudly post on your property!

The Michigan’s Produce Safety Risk Assessment is a voluntary and confidential produce safety program used as a resource for farms growing produce. Completing the Michigan Produce Safety Risk Assessment is a way for farms to be confident that their practices are consistent with the current U.S. Food and Drug Administration Produce Safety Rule. Food Safety is an important concern that needs to be addressed on all produce farms. Whether a farm is a small family farm or a big corporate farm, using good production, harvest and post-harvest management practices will help prevent contaminated produce and ensure the wellness of customers. That in return will also help ensure the success of the farm.

According to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, at least one responsible person on a farm must have completed food safety training that has been recognized as an adequate training by the Food and Drug Administration. There is multiple grower produce training sessions planned across Michigan for Winter and Spring 2019.

Pre-registration is required for the training sessions. For more information and to register go to:

For more information on the Michigan Produce Safety Risk Assessment Program go to:

For more information please contact your local Produce Safety Technician, Jordan DeVries, at (231) 225-3072 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Preventing and properly responding to a spill or discharge on a farm is everyone’s concern. Communication between the farm owner, supervisors, and employees generates ideas and awareness that leads to accident prevention and quick response if a spill does occur. An Emergency Action Plan is a basic, yet thorough, common sense plan that will help you make the right decision during an emergency.

Developing a good plan is the first step towards implementing a sound environmental policy. In reality a plan cannot be implemented if employees are not aware of the plans contents. All too often a good plan remains on the shelf, and is never implemented due to a lack of training and direction.

Components of a thorough plan include: 1) Farm site map identifying all chemical storage areas, fuel storage areas, livestock-related buildings, manure handling and storage facilities, environmentally sensitive areas such as wells, and the location of equipment that may be used to respond to an emergency. ƒ 2) Emergency contact numbers. ƒ Owner contact numbers- where the owner can be contacted in the case of an emergency both day and night. ƒ 3) Back up contact numbers- the person that can be contacted in the case of an emergency if the owner can’t be reached. ƒ 3) All appropriate emergency contacts, including the farm owner’s doctor and veterinarian; this list may also include a local excavator in case of a spill.

All Farm owners should develop emergency plans to help ensure the safety of the responders, minimize property damage, protect family members and employees and protect the environment. Farm Owners should develop an emergency plan for each separate operation or separate site, reviewing and updating annually or whenever significant changes occur on the farm. This bulletin contains information on preparing your emergency farm plan. It also contains a template (pages 4-14) for you to complete your own emergency plan.

As the farm owner, you should assess possible events, caused by humans or caused by nature, that may strike your operation, and consider the potential impacts. This assessment will help identify and prioritize the types of events that you want to be prepared to address and will lay the foundation for emergency response planning.

Discuss the emergency plan with family members and employees, and post it in a central and secure location on the farm for reference in an emergency.  Invite your local fire department representative or other emergency service providers to your farm to review your plan and show them details listed in the plan. Invite them to make suggestions on how to improve your plan.