Verification in the Cropping System recognizes farms that have taken great strides to ensure their farm reflects a commitment to good stewardship of the land and water.
The Cropping category focuses on field-based activities such as water use, soil conservation, and nutrient management. This category applies to all crops grown in Michigan. These include field crops, vegetables, fruit orchards, greenhouse crops, and ornamental trees.
To earn recognition, invite a MAEAP technician to visit your farm. He or she will help you assess your farm, develop a plan of action, and fill out paperwork. Plans are tailored to the types of crops your farm raises. All plans lay out steps you can take to prevent erosion and runoff while continuing to raise healthy crops. Plans must meet Michigan Right-to-Farm guidelines and comply with state and federal laws. The technician will also provide you with information on financial and technical assistance that you may find helpful. You are free to implement your plan’s recommended steps on your own time.
Once the work is complete, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). 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.
Once your farm is “verified,” you will receive a sign to display on your farm. You can buy a second sign if needed. You will also receive preference for cost-share, tax credits, and other financial assistance.
Your MAEAP recognition is good for five years. To maintain MAEAP recognition, you must review your plan with a MAEAP technician and request a farm visit from MDARD.
Ron Stadler of Stadler Farms- Monroe County
Ron Stadler’s family has been farming since 1896. He’s proud to carry on the family farming tradition and does what he can to care for his land so it stays healthy and productive.
That’s why Ron decided to get involved with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). A voluntary program, MAEAP helps Michigan farmers adopt cost-effective practices that reduce erosion and runoff into ponds, streams, and rivers.
Ron earned his first MAEAP recognition in March 2019 in the Cropping category. Although he was initially hesitant, his local MAEAP tech won him over and convinced him to give the program a chance.
“The local MAEAP tech took his time explaining things to me and wasn’t pushy, which I appreciated. Working with nice folks like him made the decision to participate even easier,” says Ron.
Ron was pleasantly surprised to see how easy the MAEAP process was. Now, he’s eager to share his experience with other farmers.
“I tell folks not to fear MAEAP,” says Ron. “It’s not a policing organization. The local techs will go out of their way to work with you. It’s easy and doesn’t cost anything, just time.”
Ron proudly displays his MAEAP sign at the produce booth he runs in Detroit’s Eastern Market. It gives his customers confidence that he is using good farming practices and doing things the right way.
“MAEAP encouraged me to stop and think about my farming practices,” says Ron. “It’s a good program to have. And they give you a nice sign too!”