John Cox raises grass-fed beef cattle on a 160-acre farm just south of Baseline Lake. He’s leasing land from a pair of landowners who want to conserve the land for future generations. John shares their interest in caring for the land. In fact, it’s this commitment that made participating in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) an easy decision for John to make. A voluntary program, MAEAP helps Michigan farmers adopt cost-effective practices that reduce erosion and runoff into ponds, streams, and rivers.
“After speaking with my local MAEAP tech, I realized that it wouldn’t be difficult for my farm to go through the process,” says John. “We were already going down that road and didn’t need to change too much. It validated what I was doing and helped me identify things I could do to improve my farming practices.”
John earned MAEAP recognition in 2018 in three categories: Livestock, Cropping, and Farmstead. He was pleased to learn he was doing many things right from the get-go. He encourages all farms, large or small, to go through the MAEAP process.
“I would tell anyone to definitely go for it,” says John. “Earning and displaying your MAEAP sign gives people confidence that you are doing what you can to protect the environment.”
For farmers who are interested in MAEAP, John advises keeping good records of their farming practices, like chemical spray applications.
“Records are one of the big things that MAEAP will ask for. Really, it all comes down to good farming practices,” says John.