Times have changed since Jim Stutzman started farming in 1969. He wants to do everything he can to promote farming in his community. That’s why he decided to participate 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.
Jim earned his first MAEAP recognition in Cropping in 2007. He earned a second one in Farmstead in 2013. Jim was happy to learn that MAEAP is not as cumbersome or confusing as you might think. His local technician was very helpful throughout the process. He pointed out what Jim was doing right and what areas needed a few changes.
Jim says MAEAP provides peace of mind. It’s different from other government programs that he has worked with in the past because they are there to help.
“What makes MAEAP different is that it’s voluntary. It’s not a Big Brother program,” says Jim. “Being verified shows others that you are doing what is required to farm…If someone sues you, it adds a helpful layer to your defense.”
Jim is quick to encourage his fellow farmers to get involved with MAEAP.
“I think every farmer should earn MAEAP recognition,” says Jim. “It will help how agriculture is viewed in the future. It will allow us to farm and do what we do best. We need farms and we need farmers.”