The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is recognizing 18 farms for implementing appropriate pollution prevention practices. The program assists farmers to comply with state and federal environmental regulations and with Right to Farm practices. Technical assistance was provided by local Conservation Districts.
The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program recognized:
- Gun Lake Tribe- Indian Lake- Band of Pottawatomi Indians, of Shelbyville, as verified in Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
- Gun Lake Tribe- Jijak Foundation – Band of Pottawatomi Indians, of Hopkins, as verified in Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
- Gun Lake Tribe- Luella Collins Community Center- Band of Pottawatomi Indians, of Wayland, as verified in Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
- Gun Lake Tribe- Dick’s Woods- Band of Pottawatomi Indians, of Shelbyville, as verified in Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
- Blue Sky Hops of Honor, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- Elemental Foods, of Mt. Morris, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- Lavender on Old Mission Peninsula, of Traverse City, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- Iosco C.D. Ingalls Forest, of Tawas City, as verified in Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
- L. Mawby Winery, of Suttons Bay, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- RootDown River Farm, of Pickford, as verified in Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock Systems
- Cold Stream Farm, of Freesoil, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- Cantiberry Farms, of Dundee, as verified in Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat
- Masserant Farm, of Newport, as verified in the Cropping System
- Mountain Hill Farm, of Hesperia, as verified in Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock Systems
- Heussner Farms, of Marlette, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- Larry Messing Farm, of Deckerville, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
- James Long Farm, of Millington, as verified in Cropping and Livestock Systems
- Galens Blueberries, of Covert, as verified in Farmstead and Cropping Systems
“By taking the steps necessary to become an environmentally verified operation, these 18 farms have contributed to the assurance of sustainable farming practices,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “Michigan is leading the national agriculture community in effective stewardship practices with the voluntary, incentive-based MAEAP program. The continued success of the program demonstrates that environmental sustainability and economic development are not mutually exclusive.”
MAEAP is a collaborative effort of farmers, MDARD, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, universities, conservation districts, conservation and environmental groups and state and federal agencies. More than 100 local coordinators and technical service providers are available to assist farmers as they move through the MAEAP process toward verification. An average of 5,000 Michigan farmers attend educational programs annually, 10,000 Michigan farms have started the verification process and over 4,000 verifications to date.
To become MAEAP verified, farmers must complete three comprehensive steps which include attending an educational seminar, conducting a thorough on-farm risk assessment, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. MDARD conducts an on‑farm inspection to verify program requirements related to applicable state and federal environmental regulations, Michigan Right to Farm guidelines, and adherence to an action plan. When completed, the producer receives a certificate of environmental assurance. To remain an MAEAPverified farm, inspections must be conducted every five years and action steps must be followed.
In March of 2011, Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 122 and House Bill 4212, now Public Acts 1 and 2 of 2011, to codify the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program into law.
MAEAP is a multi-year program allowing producers to meet personal objectives, while best managing both time and resources. The program encompasses Four systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system – Livestock, Farmstead, Cropping, and Forest, Wetlands and Habitat – examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all four systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.
For more information, visit the MAEAP website at https://www.maeap.org or contact Joe Kelpinski, MDARD’s MAEAP Program Manager, at (517)284-5608.