What is the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program?

MAEAP is a program that recognizes farmers for doing their part to be good neighbors and care for Michigan’s land and water. MAEAP helps farmers adopt farming practices that reduce erosion and runoff into ponds, streams, and rivers. This, in turn, helps farmers comply with state and federal laws.

This program is free and voluntary. Everything we learn about your farm is 100% confidential. This is guaranteed by state law.

MAEAP is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and dozens of other agricultural organizations around the state.

Who is eligible to participate in this program?

MAEAP is open to Michigan farmers of all types and sizes. You can earn recognition in one or more of four areas:

  • Farmsteads
  • Cropping
  • Livestock
  • Forest, Wetlands, & Habitat

What are the benefits of participating?

Participating in MAEAP is a win-win for farmers and Michigan’s land and water. You will learn how you can improve your farming practices, increase crop yields, and lower costs. And you’ll feel good about reducing erosion and runoff into ponds, streams, and rivers.

Farmers who earn MAEAP recognition will receive a sign to display on their farm. This sign will show that you are a top steward in your community. You may also benefit from regulatory protections and be at an advantage for additional expert help and cost share. Above all, you will earn an enduring sense of pride and accomplishment for your work.

Why does the state of Michigan offer this program?

Water pollution comes from many sources, and some of it comes from farms. MAEAP was developed as a way to help farmers improve their farming practices while protecting Michigan’s waterways from erosion and runoff. Farmers who earn MAEAP recognition learn how to be better stewards of the land so that they can leave it in better shape than when they found it.

How many farms are participating in this program now?

Thousands of Michigan farmers have earned MAEAP recognition. Many of these farmers have been recognized in more than one area on their farms.

How do I start working toward getting recognized?

To get started, attend a workshop or schedule a free visit with a local MAEAP technician. He or she will introduce you to the program and share how you can benefit from MAEAP recognition. Everything discussed during this visit is 100% confidential and will not be shared with anyone else.

If you choose to pursue MAEAP recognition, our staff will be available to help you every step of the way.

Plus, farmers who start by certain dates will be at an advantage for cost share, grants, and other assistance programs.

What happens during the initial visit?

You will show the MAEAP technician around your farm and provide a general overview of your operation. This is an opportunity for you to share any challenges you are facing that you may want help to address. The technician will NOT share their notes and photographs with any other organizations.

How long does it take and how much does it cost to get recognized?

Earning your MAEAP sign is easier than you think. The program is free and you can start the process at any time. Once you have an implementation plan in place, you are free to do the work at your own pace. Some farms complete the process in as little as …. while others may take 3 or 4 years.

There is no cost to participate in MAEAP and no fee for the recognition or the sign. Of course, some of the recommendations we present will have costs associated with them, and these will vary from farm to farm. Our technicians are standing by to help you apply for cost share and grant dollars that may be available.

Who can help me get recognized? What kind of assistance is available?

Our MAEAP technicians are here to help you every step of the way. A technician will help you assess your farm, develop a plan of action, and fill out paperwork. He or she will also steer you to cost share and expert help, if you want. Once the work is complete, you can contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. A verifier from MDARD will visit your farm to ensure the recommended practices are in place and address erosion and runoff risks on your land.

I’d like to read more on my own first, where I can I find additional resources?

You can find additional resources on our website by visiting the in depth Resource Library.