Dan Busby, Verifier
Counties: Antrim, Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Mason, Lake, Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent
What do you do as a verifier?
I work with many technicians and partners to assist the local farm community implement MAEAP on their farm. I feel my job as a verifier is to be that third set of eyes reviewing everything on the farm and in the field that is pertinent to potential environmental risks.
How do you help farmers?
I assist growers to identify and reduce environmental risks on the farm and in the field.
Why do you enjoy your job?
I meet with the best of the best every day. We are all trying to do the same thing, make Michigan agriculture as productive and sustainable as possible without compromising our environmental quality.
Dan attended Northern Michigan University and received a degree in Conservation and Land Use Planning. He has been a MAEAP Verifier since October 1, 2012.
Dan is a self-proclaimed fishing guru.
Michigan State University Swine Teaching and Research Lab
By: Madison Wensley, Michigan Pork Producers
Hog producers across Michigan show environmental stewardship through MAEAP. MAEAP was created to mitigate agricultural risks and strengthen industry support, providing farmers with the resources needed to stay updated on pollution prevention and both state and local environmental laws.
In 1855, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was founded. Later established as Michigan State University (MSU), MSU has paved the way in many agricultural advancements. In 1862, MSU became the first land-grant institution in the nation. More than a century later, MSU joined forces with MAEAP. As a partner and supporter of MAEAP, it was only appropriate that MSU underwent the three-phase verification process to verify all their campus farms and outside stations, such as the Kellogg Biological Center. In 2014, farmstead, cropping, and livestock verification was completed.
The MSU Swine Teaching and Research Facility was erected in December 1997. Shortly after the completion of the facility, 80 early-weaned, purebred Yorkshire females were segregated and relocated to the farm from the old facility. These 80 females marked the beginning of MSU’s current 228-sow herd. The farm has been a farrow-to-finish, closed herd confinement operation since this transition.
Kevin Turner, Swine Farm Manager, and MSU alumni began the MAEAP verification movement at MSU with the support and help of Dr. Dan Buskirk, Associate Professor of Animal Science and Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management. Given that MSU is a large supporter of MAEAP, Kevin believed it was important to set an example by not only encouraging fellow producers to become verified but to become verified themselves. “How can you expect others to go through the verification process if you haven’t taken the steps too?” he said. “With all the accreditations and inspections in place by the university, it made verification seamless.”
Kevin believes that the opportunity to take part in a voluntary program, designed to help producers improve their current practices is advantageous. “As farmers, we all have a passion and a vested interest in the environment.” Animal care, manure management, and waterway health are top priorities for Kevin. “We didn’t do it for the white sign, but it’s the white sign out front that strengthens community and employee awareness, benefiting our industry.”
Larsen Farms is the first farm to be environmentally verified in cropping, farmstead and livestock systems in Mason County. Pictured from left to right are Dan Busby, MDARD Verifier; Murray Stall, MAEAP Technician; Burke, Leta, Lindsey, Leah and Lisa Larsen of Larsen Farms; and Seth Earl, District Conservationist.
By: Murray Stall, MAEAP Technician
Larsen’s Dairy Farm is the first producer to be verified in three MAEAP systems( farmstead, cropping, and livestock) in Mason County. MAEAP helps farmers and landowners reduce environmental pollution through education and assistance in applying best management practices to their farms in four systems: Farmstead, Livestock, Cropping and Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat.
Each system has best management practices that the farmer or landowner can implement to improve environmental risk and to help make their farm more efficient. To become MAEAP verified, the Larsen’s constructed fuel, pesticide, and fertilizer storage units and a state of the art manure storage and handling disposal system.
This one-of-a-kind loop facility reclaims bedding sand for reuse and includes a mechanical manure separator. It also utilizes wash water to transport manure to concrete-lined pits in an environmentally safe manner. Manure is then spread on crop fields at rates that will not cause runoff or infiltration into ground or surface water.
The farm owned by Burke and Lisa Larsen, operates 1,600 acres, milks 500 cows, and grows corn, alfalfa, and wheat.
If you wish to learn more about MAEAP or pursue a verification in Mason County or Lake County, call the Mason-Lake Conservation District at (231-757-3707 – Ext.5).
Jodi Dehate (right) with her husband Kevin Dehate (left)
Counties: Missaukee, Wexford, Kalkaska, and Crawford
What do you do as a technician?
I primarily work with dairy farmers in Missaukee County but I have worked with other commodities too such as potatoes, row crops, Christmas trees, beef, and some hoop house growers.
How do you help farmers?
I try to be a resource for my farmers. I am there to serve them whether it be advice on standards for MAEAP, providing a listening ear to bounce ideas off of, or giving them technical support. Whatever my farmers need, I try to the get the information.
Why do you enjoy your job?
I enjoy my job because I get to work with my favorite people. If I can help protect my friends, family, and the agriculture community through the MAEAP program then that’s no better reason for me to do this job.
Jodi grew up on a 150 cow dairy farm in Northern Osceola. She was a teacher for 13 years before coming to the Missaukee Conservation District in 2009 as the Recycling Educator/Coordinator. She later transitioned to the MAEAP Technician position.
Jodi enjoys hunting, fishing, kayaking, cooking, and baking.