Technician Spotlight: Sadie Guernsey
Right to Left: Sadie Guernsey, Luke Simpson and family.
Counties: Ionia County and Barry County
What do you do as a MAEAP technician?
As a MAEAP technician, I work with farmers in my counties to prevent or eliminate any present or potential agricultural pollution risks that may be on their farm.
How do you help farmers?
If the farmer or I find an issue on their farm we will brainstorm a solution that is cost-effective and efficient. Every time I go out, I want to make sure the producer leaves with something. Whether we solve an issue or catch up on life, my relationship with these farmers is a huge deal to me.
Why do you enjoy your job?
I enjoy meeting the farmers. No two farms are the same, so it’s interesting to hear their stories about their farm. I get to learn a little more about the county that I grew up in, and a county that I don’t know much about.
Sadie was born and raised on her grandfather’s dairy farm in Ionia, Michigan. She was heavily involved in her 4-H club where she showed hogs at the Ionia Free Fair. For three years, Sadie was the president of the Saranac Future Farmers of America. She attended Baker College where she received an Associate of Science in Agriculture Technology and Animal Science.
Sadie met Sonny Perdue and he shook her hand!
*correction made to the picture. Luke Simpson and his family are featured in the picture.
Verifier Spotlight: Tom Young
Tom Young, verifier.
Counties: Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Lake, Mecosta, Midland, Montcalm, Osceola, Saginaw, Sanilac, St. Clair, and Tuscola
What do you do as a MAEAP verifier?
I work with technicians to make sure farmers are ready for verification. If farmers need additional work to become verified, I give them suggestions on how to improve their processes.
How do you help farmers?
I go into every verification with a positive attitude. I make sure farmers know that they are doing a great job and reassure them that they are taking care of the environment. If they need to make changes to improve their operation, I give them suggestions and help them find resources, if necessary, to become verified.
Why do you enjoy your job?
I love working with farmers, meeting new people, and protecting the environment. I enjoy giving farmers practical solutions to help the environment.
Tom grew up on a farm in Saginaw County, Michigan. He received his bachelor’s in resource development from Michigan State University.
Tom loves to garden and is known for his pumpkins and squash.
MAEAP Verification Educates, Shows Others the Value of Farming
Agritourism Business Inspires This Farmer to Complete Three MAEAP Verifications in Six Months
Matt and Kelly Carpenter on Carpenter Farms.
Matt Carpenter enjoys sharing his love of farming with others. He also believes in educating the public about the realities of farming. It’s what drove him to start an agritourism business twenty years ago.
It was Matt’s agritourism business that sparked his involvement in 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.
“My wife and I don’t work off the farm, this is our livelihood,” says Matt. “To make a go of it, we need to invite the public out to our farm and make a life out of agriculture.”
When Matt first heard about MAEAP, he knew right away that he needed to participate. After meeting with a local technician, Matt was happy to learn that most of the issues he needed to address were things he knew had to be done. So, he got busy, quickly fixing the issues on the farm. His hard work paid off, earning three MAEAP recognitions in record time in 2013.
Earning MAEAP recognition is something that Matt encourages all farmers to look into.
“We all want to take pride in what we are doing. With MAEAP recognition, we can talk to the public, we can talk to other farmers. When they drive by our sign, we can explain to others what it means to be recognized,” says Matt. “There is pride in MAEAP and in educating the public about what it is.”
To learn more about the MAEAP program, visit www.maeap.org or call (517)284-5609.
Urban Garden Becomes Verified
Edible Flint Adds an Extra Credential
Edible Flint garden. Photo taken from https://www.facebook.com/edibleflint/
Edible Flint, a 2,700 square foot urban farm within the city limits of Flint, is a recently MAEAP verified farm.
“We are very excited about [Cropping System] verification,” said Terry McLean, Michigan State University MSU Extension educator and manager at Edible Flint. “The process to reach this was through three steps that we found very easy to do and work through with our local conservation MAEAP technician.”
Terry and her small team began the MAEAP process about a year ago by attending educational sessions on soil health. They then met with their local technician who identified areas that needed some improvement.
“We started working with our technician last year who helped us to develop a nutrient management plan and to do a soil analysis,” Terry said. “It was helpful to hear all the things we were doing right and what needed a little bit of work.”
After implementing the changes, Edible Flint became verified. The urban garden displays their sign to show their community they care.
“It is helpful to say we have been through a rigorous process, like MAEAP because being MAEAP verified is an extra credential to show the community we care.”
Edible Flint was formed in 2009 to help Flint residents access healthy food and to connect back to their community. Today, the community garden produces more than 1,900 pounds of produce a year for the Flint community and contributes to Hurley Hospital’s Food Pharmacy, a program where patients receive supplemental produce for their diets.
To learn more about Edible Flint visit http://www.edibleflint.org/. Click here to listen to an interview with Terry McLean.