MAEAP Newsletter: January 2018

Verifier Spotlight: Erin Satchell

Technician Spotlight: Holly Moss

Winter Manure Spreading

MAEAP Announces Winners at the 2017 MACD Convention

Verifier Spotlight: Erin Satchell

Erin Satchell

Erin Satchell, Verifier

Counties: Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Baraga, Iron, Marquette, Dickinson, Alger, Delta, Menominee, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, Chippewa, Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Roscommon, Ogemaw, and Iosco counties

What do you do as a verifier?

There are a lot of different facets of my job.  I make the final site visits for those seeking MAEAP verification.  I help with training new technicians.  I am a resource for the technicians in my area when they have a question or encounter something new.  I help at events; sometimes giving a presentation or staffing a booth.

I participate in the committees that work to keep the MAEAP Standards up to date.

How do you help farmers?

I am part of a team that brings practical and valuable information to farmers.  Our customers want to farm in ways that will be productive and sustainable and we assist them in achieving that goal.

Why do you enjoy your job?

My co-workers are wonderful, my work is meaningful, and I cover Northern Michigan!


Erin grew up in Tuscola County, where he farmed into his 30’s.  He attended Michigan Technological University receiving his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. Erin loves to travel, especially if it’s an adventure.  His three sons are the best – look out, world!

Fun Fact:

Erin is building a wooden sailboat.  He is now taking reservations for the maiden voyage; estimated launch window is spring of 2018-2028.

Erin Satchell and his sons Benjamin, Michael, and Jacob giving power poses (left to right).

Technician Spotlight: Holly Moss

Holly Moss (right) with husband Shawn Moss (left).

Counties: Delta, Alger, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties. Sometimes Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Baraga, and Iron counties.

What do you do as a technician?

In the U.P. there is such a variety of agriculture. I have learned to be a jack of all trades. I primarily work with Dairy, Beef, Potatoes, Hobby Farms, Hoop Houses, Aquaculture, Greenhouses and Forest Landowners.

How do you help farmers? 

I try to help producers achieve their goals by providing them technical assistance, writing management plans for the farm and providing practical solutions to address resource concerns.  I put on educational field day events where I work with partners like the Conservation District, Michigan State University Extension, local Farm Bureaus, and agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Why do you enjoy your job?

My favorite part of my job is getting to work with all the people in my area. I have made many friends over the years as a MAEAP technician.  Each field visit is always unique, and I enjoy hearing the history of each place I go too.  I travel all over the U.P. and see all the beauty the U.P. has to offer. What can be better than that?


Holly grew up in Delta County and has lived there all her life.  She has been working for the Delta Conservation District as their MAEAP technician for the past 12 years.  Holly and her husband Shawn raise Beagles, which compete in the American Kennel Club Field Trial competitions all over the U.P., northern lower Michigan, and Wisconsin.  Holly and Shawn also enjoy growing a variety of vegetable crops at their home, which consists of sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peas, banana and jalapeño peppers, radishes, and onions.

Fun Fact:

Holly got married in July 2017.  She enjoys hunting and fishing. She also enjoys painting, especially with soft pastels.

Shawn (left) and Holly (right) at National Beagle Competition.

Winter Manure Spreading

Manure applied to the frozen ground, close to surface water. Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Spreading manure in the winter can be risky due to the possibility of water contamination.  Producers should have available storage to contain their winter production of manure.  However, this is not practical on many farms.  In those instances, producers are encouraged to evaluate their fields using the Manure Application Risk Index (MARI), to find the fields most suitable for application on the frozen or snow-covered ground. A MARI calculation indicates the fields which are off-limits for winter manure application.  In evaluating options, producers should remember that liquid manures pose a greater risk of offsite movement into surface water than dry, or bedded pack manures.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has guidelines for winter manure applications outlined in the Manure Management and Utilization section of the Right to Farm Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs).

The GAAMPS: Manure Management and Utilization, January 2017 guidelines are as follows:

Application of manure to frozen or snow-covered soils should be avoided, but where necessary,

  • Solid manures should only be applied to areas where slopes are six percent or less.
  • Liquid manures should only be applied to soils where slopes are three percent or less.

In either situation, provisions must be made to control runoff and erosion with soil and water conservation practices, such as vegetative buffer strips between surface waters and soils where manure is applied.

Permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are also required to have a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), which includes a MARI for all fields where manure will be applied on the frozen or snow-covered ground. The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s MARI is a predictive tool that determines the relative risk of spreading manure. The index allows a producer to evaluate fields based on distance to water, cover type, runoff control, percent of slope, and precipitation. This assessment is used as part of a CNMP to identify field and cropping conditions when winter manure applications on frozen and/or snow-covered ground are determined to be very low, low, medium or high risk. Only those fields that are very low or low-risk pass MARI.

Producers can work with a local MAEAP technician to run these tools on their field as part of becoming MAEAP verified. This is a free (no charge) and confidential process.

To find your local technician click here.

MAEAP Announces Winners at the 2017 MACD Convention

Michigan Agriculture Assurance Program (MAEAP) presented three awards at the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) Fall Convention held in Bellaire, MI on November 3, 2017.

Since 2010, MAEAP has given out 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 over 4,000 verifications.

MAEAP would like to congratulate the following recipients for their efforts in promoting stewardship and protecting the environment.

 Left to Right: Sheila Wald, Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative; Tyler Tankersley, Farm Bill Biologist; John Mitchell, Branch Conservation District Board Chair, and MACD State Council – Region 8 Chair, Joe Kelpinski, MAEAP Program Manager; Mike Censke, MAEAP Technician;  and Kathy Worst, Branch County Conservation District Executive Director.

Branch Conservation DistrictMAEAP Grant Host of the Year: This award recognizes an outstanding Conservation District that provides exceptional service to landowners in the service area covered by its MAEAP technician. The Branch Conservation District has provided outstanding support for its MAEAP technician from building a great team that truly supports each other’s work, to providing input and assistance with multiple Phase 1 events.  Board members, especially board chairman John Mitchell, provide support and their own properties and time for training.

Left to right: Joe Kelpinski, MAEAP Program Manager; Holly Moss, MAEAP Technician; and Erin Satchell, MAEAP Verifier.

Holly MossWaterdrop Award: This award recognizes the technician who has the most verifications and has gone above and beyond the duties of a technician. Holly Moss has been with the Delta Conservation District for 12 years. She has gone above her duties to service other counties in the U.P. She is very attentive to the producers she serves and makes sure they have the resources they need. Holly truly is a jack of all trades and a key asset to the MAEAP program in the U.P.

Left to right: Joe Kelpinski, MAEAP Program Manager; Michael Ludlam, MAEAP Technician; Josh Appleby, MAEAP Verifier; and Dan Busby, MAEAPVerifier.

Michael LudlamMAEAP Technical Assistance Award: This award recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional service to his or her landowners and farmers. For the past five years, Mike Ludlam has not only been at or near the top for verifications, but he has shown an unwavering commitment to his producers.  Mike takes calls 24/7, is present at every event, assists in MAEAP program development and training, and is highly respected in his community and among his peers.  Mike helps new technicians as a technical resource and mentor.  He is a champion for his producers and a tremendous asset to the MAEAP program and Michigan Agriculture.