Two Conservation District technicians awarded for work promoting stewardship, protecting environment

LANSING—The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) awarded two technicians for their outstanding conservation work over the past year. Alex Svoboda, of the Osceola-Lake Conservation District, and Robert Malcomnson, of the Lapeer Conservation District, were presented with the awards during the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts’ Convention and Annual Meeting, held virtually today.

Every year since 2010, MAEAP has selected two exceptional program technicians for the Verification Award and the MAEAP Technical Assistance Award to recognize them for going above and beyond for MAEAP and their commitment to conservation in Michigan.

“When we talk about investing in sustainability and environmental stewardship, what we’re really talking about are the dedicated professionals who go to work every day and actually make it happen, who put best practices into action,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which houses and oversees MAEAP. “Alex and Robert are truly deserving of this recognition. The work they have done with the farmers and landowners in their communities has not only helped MAEAP reach nearly 6,000 verifications, but it also has helped protect Michigan’s resources for future generations.”

Alex Svoboda, of the Osceola-Lake Conservation District, received the Verification Award, which recognizes the technician who has the most verifications and has gone above and beyond the duties of a technician. Alex serves farmers in Clare, Osceola, and Lake counties. He has been a technician for two years. He has completed 42 total verifications, including 23 new verifications. Alex has a positive attitude and finds a way to connect with producers to make them feel at ease. He is always available to help producers with resource concerns and never backs down from challenges.

Robert Malcomnson, of the Lapeer Conservation District, received the MAEAP Technical Assistance Award, which recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional service to landowners and farmers. Robert serves farmers in both Lapeer and Macomb counties and has been with MAEAP for the last five years. He is known for building lasting relationships with farmers in his counties and helping them as they work toward verification. Robert often shares the tips and tricks of his successes with fellow technicians during conference trainings. He goes above and beyond to meet with farmers at times that are convenient for them, and he takes the opportunity to listen and answer questions so farmers are comfortable and excited to participate in the program.

Launched in 1998, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program is an innovative, voluntary program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks. MAEAP verification can be earned in one or more of four areas: Farmstead; Cropping; Livestock; and Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat. Farmers who earn MAEAP verification receive a sign to place on their farm.

For more information about MAEAP, visit

For more information about the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, visit

Photo: Alex Svoboda

Photo: Robert Malcolmson