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The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) presented three awards at the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) Fall Convention held in Bellaire, Michigan on October 30th.
Since 2010, MAEAP has presented the MAEAP Grant Host of the Year Award, Waterdrop Award, and MAEAP Technical Assistance Award at the annual MACD convention to honor those who do outstanding work with MAEAP in the conservation field. This year’s recipients are no different and their tireless efforts have helped MAEAP reach almost 5,000 verifications.
MAEAP would like to congratulate the following recipients for their efforts in promoting stewardship and protecting the environment.
Grant Host of the Year: Delta Conservation District
Pictured: (left to right) Rory Mattson (District CEO & Natural Resources Specialist), Holly Moss(MAEAP Technician), Tyler Tankersley (CTAI), Jack Herrick (District Director & Chairman), Russ Ross (District Director), and Benny Herioux (District Director)
Delta Conservation District-MAEAP Grant Host of the Year: This award recognizes an outstanding Conservation District that provides exceptional assistance to landowners in the service area covered by its MAEAP technician. Delta County continues to promote environmental stewardship through its partnerships and dedicated conservation district staff. The close cooperation between the Delta Conservation District technician, Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative technician, and forester is one of the major reasons why MAEAP verification has been such a big success in the central Upper Peninsula. Since the Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat System became a part of MAEAP in 2016, the Conservation District has led the state in new verifications. This includes a 160-acre property owned by the Delta Conservation District as well as personal properties of four district board members.
Waterdrop Award: Michael Ludlam
Pictured: (left to right) Josh Appleby (MAEAP Verifier), Michael Ludlam (MAEAP Technician), and Joe Kelpinski (MAEAP Program Manager)
Michael Ludlam, Allegan County -Waterdrop Award: This award recognizes the technician who has the most verifications and has gone above and beyond the duties of a technician. Mike completed 90 risk assessments and 69 verifications. Mike is an incredible asset to his county and producers. He always makes himself available to his clients. He has shown an unwavering commitment to his producers.
Technical Assistance Award: Linda Zabik
Pictured: (left to right) Josh Appleby (MAEAP Verifier), Linda Zabik (MAEAP Technician), and Joe Kelpinski (MAEAP Program Manager)
Linda Zabik, Kalamazoo County -MAEAP Technical Assistance Award: This award recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional service to his or her landowners and farmers. Linda has been with the program for 14 years and only one farm has not been re-verified. Whenever a new technician needs training, or a landowner needs technical assistance, Linda is always there. She goes above and beyond to make sure landowners are verified and they get any support they need. In addition to 40 verifications, Linda completed more risk reductions than any other technician in the state.
Pictured: (left to right) Nate(husband), Carylin Rose (daughter), and Shelby Burlew
Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Genesee, Oakland, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lapeer, Macomb, Lenawee, Livingston, Shiawassee, Monroe, Wayne and Washtenaw counties
What do you do as a MAEAP verifier?
I listen to farmers and answer any questions they might have about their farm. They put a lot of time and effort into pursuing verifications. I am excited to be out on their farms and learn about their successes and challenges.
How do you help farmers?
I want producers to know they are doing an excellent job in taking care of the land. If they need help in making improvements in their operation, they have an excellent resource with their MAEAP technician and me.
Why do you enjoy your job?
I get to recognize farms that are protecting their land resources and the environment.
I grew up in Branch County where I was very active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America. I received my Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Michigan State University (MSU). I then went on to pursue my Master of Science in Agricultural Sciences, with a specialization in Integrated Resource Management, from Colorado State University. I enjoy spending time with my husband, Nate, and young daughter Carylin Rose. I also enjoy trips to the family cabin, gardening and being on the lakes back home.
I spent a summer during my time at MSU interning at the Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, which is one of the top racing Quarter Horse breeding operations in the U.S.
Pictured: (left to right) Josh Appleby (MAEAP Verifier), Krager family members of Krager’s Acres Farm and Erez Brandvain (MAEAP Technician)
What do you do as a technician?
I work with producers to reach verification. I am helping producers understand nutrient management and other best management practices.
How do I help farmers?
As a MAEAP technician, I work to show producers that adjustments to their programs and soil sampling can help with nutrient management.
Why do you enjoy your job?
I enjoy my job because it benefits agriculture, the environment and people. MAEAP brings attention to issues that directly affect those areas and provides real, attainable solutions.
My passion for agriculture started while living in Israel. After my experiences there, I chose to pursue a degree in agriculture from a small agriculture college in Vermont, which grew most of its food.
I used to manage a 400 head artisan beef cattle farm in Springfield, Vermont. Recently, I got a new puppy named Buddy. He is an Australian Cattle Dog and Border Collie.