Making Strides in Conservation

By: Jamie VanDerZanden, MAEAP Technician

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) works with farms of all sizes and all commodities prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks. The program is separated into four systems that each focus on different potential risks. The Farmstead System focuses more on pollution risks associated with fuel, pesticide, fertilizer, and manure storage. The Cropping System focuses more on risks associated with pesticide and nutrient application, erosion control, and record keeping. The Livestock System focuses on manure storage, transfer and land application, record keeping, feed storage and lot management risks. The fourth system, the Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat (FWH), is geared more towards non-farm landowners that want to manage and protect their natural resources.

MAEAP Technicians across the state are working with farms and landowners to complete risk assessments and implement risk reduction practices on their farms. Once all risk-reduction benchmarks are met on a farm or forest, that land is then "environmentally verified", receiving recognition in the community as a top environmental steward. In our 2020 fiscal year, the program in Mason County completed 6 new risk assessments, 7 repeat risk assessments, 3 reverifications, and 8 new verifications on many different types of farms and forest property. The program in Lake County completed 2 new risk assessments and 2 new verifications on forest property. The program in Manistee County completed 8 new risk assessments, 3 repeat risk assessments, 1 reverification, and 2 new verifications on many different types of farms and forest property.

The MAEAP program has continued to work with many different farms across the state since 1998, when the program first started. To date, there are currently 5,645 (and counting) MAEAP Verifications across Michigan. MAEAP is a great program to learn more about reducing environmental risk, be recognized as a Top Steward of the Land, and to help promote conservation. The program is 100% voluntary, 100% confidential, and it is achievable with the help of your local MAEAP Technician and Conservation District. If you are interested in learning more about MAEAP, want to become MAEAP verified, or if you know of someone that would be a good fit for the program, feel free to call us at our office at (231) 757-3707 ext. 5 to learn more.