LANSING – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) celebrated its 5,000th verification with an event at the Lansing Center.
More than 500 farmers, commodity representatives, and agriculture and conservation organizations gathered to celebrate MAEAP’s achievement with exhibit booths, guest speakers, and a presentation of awards.
“The MAEAP 5,000th Verification Celebration is an opportunity for us to honor and celebrate all our partners, farmers, and the industry who developed and implemented MAEAP,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “MAEAP is a voluntary, environmental program that helps farmers protect our water and natural resources. Producers are showing their communities every day how much they care.”
“The fact that many of our Farm Bureau members are verified in one or more MAEAP systems demonstrates the value our organization places on the unrivaled voluntary program MAEAP has become,” said Carl Bednarski, President of Michigan Farm Bureau. “Personally, it enabled our family to proactively identify issues on the farm we may not otherwise have realized. MAEAP helps us balance profitability with responsible environmental stewardship.”
During the celebration, participants heard a special video message from Governor Gretchen Whitmer applauding participants for their great work.
“I applaud you for your hard work and dedication to building a legacy of sustainability. It’s our goal to continue that legacy through MAEAP and encourage more farmers to participate in the program,” said Governor Whitmer.
Participants also heard from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Matt Lohr.
“This program is an excellent model for other states that are working toward implementing a program to protect their land and water,” said Lohr. “Michigan is one state leading the way in environmental innovation.”
During the celebration, 13 of the earliest farms to participate were honored for maintaining their verification in the program.
*Pictured (left to right) Chief Matt Lohr, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Director Gary McDowell, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.