Verification in the Livestock System recognizes each farms commitment to practicing good stewardship of Michigan’s land and water. The program focuses on environmental issues related to livestock activities.
The Livestock category focuses on animal production activities. These include manure management practices, as well as practices that protect water and prevent erosion. This category applies to all Michigan livestock farms, regardless of the animals raised or their size.
There are a couple of ways to earn MAEAP recognition under this category. You can complete a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) or use the MAEAP assessment tool.
If you have a contracted CNMP, you will need to hire a Technical Service Provider (TSP). A TSP is someone who has a background in conservation planning and design. He or she will help with the CNMP’s development. You can visit this website to check and see if the TSP is certified: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/technical/tsp/
Not ready to complete a CNMP? You can choose to use the MAEAP assessment tool. Many farmers find that this tool helps them to take smaller, yet more cost effective and practical steps to address erosion and runoff.
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.”