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.
Denny Person of Person Farms, LLC- Hillsdale County
Denny Person took over the family dairy farm from his father in 2010. Some things have changed, like switching to beef cattle and growing beans, corn, and wheat. What hasn’t changed is Denny’s love for the land. That’s why Denny joined 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.
Denny earned his first MAEAP recognition in Cropping in 2014. He found the process to be fairly easy and was happy to learn that he was doing many things right. Since then, Denny has been recognized in Farmstead, Livestock, and Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat.
“Participating in MAEAP opens your eyes to areas where you can improve your farming practices,” says Denny. “For example, MAEAP showed me the value of having an emergency plan and sharing it with the local fire chief, just in case something should happen.”
Denny is quick to assure other farmers that MAEAP is not your run-of-the-mill government program.
“MAEAP technicians are there to help you,” he says. “That’s the benefit of working with local techs. When you know and trust the people you work with it makes a huge difference.”
Denny urges all farmers to sign up and have a MAEAP technician come out for a visit.
“Maybe you’ll decide not to participate or complete the process. That’s okay,” he says. “Meet with a MAEAP tech and get an idea of where you are at. You might learn about something you can change on your farm for the better.”