MAEAP Celebrates 1000 Verifications
Posted on 2011-10-17EDT8:00PM
Interest in Michigan's voluntary, proactive program for assuring effective land stewardship practices on farms is growing, announced Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) Director Keith Creagh. The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is recognizing Lee Sesquicentennial Farm, in Shiawassee County, as the 1000th verification.
"The Lee Family and all Michigan MAEAP verified farms are a symbol of the commitment to our state's long-term agriculture economic success and environmental safeguarding," said Creagh. "I applaud Lee Sesquicentennial Farm for their proactive steps in assuring effective land stewardship practices."
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.
"It gives me a great sense of pride to be able to say that Lee Farms is MAEAP verified. Getting to this point has been a real educational experience. I would like to thank the staff members from the Shiawassee Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service for all the time and effort they have spent working with me to help identify and address the environmental risks on our farm. It was a lot of hard work and dedication, but knowing that my farm is environmentally sound makes it all worthwhile," said Larry Lee.
Michigan's Conservation Districts play an important role in MAEAP by providing local assistance to those interested in assuring that their farm is environmentally sound. Michigan Conservation Districts work closely with farmers to identify environmental risks and offer technical assistance and conservation planning to address those risks.
MAEAP is a collaborative effort of producers, MDARD, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, Michigan State University, conservation groups, and other state and federal agencies. More than 150 local coordinators and technical service providers are available to assist farmers as they move through the MAEAP process toward verification.
"MSU Extension educators have been working with farmers since the beginning of the program to make sure they are armed with all the knowledge necessary to keep their farms environmentally sound," said Tom Coon, director of Michigan State University Extension and co-chair of the MAEAP advisory council. "We are proud of the progress we've made, and our commitment to the program remains strong."
"Michigan Farm Bureau congratulates Lee Farms in earning Michigan's 1000th MAEAP verification and thanks all hard working farmers across the state who have been MAEAP verified. These leaders have created a path for all Michigan farmers to be recognized as protectors of our natural resources while providing for the needs of their neighbors and the world," said Scott Piggott, Co-chair Environmental Assurance Advisory Council.
MAEAP is a multi-year program allowing producers to meet personal objectives while best managing both time and resources. The program encompasses three systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system - Livestock, Farmstead, and Cropping - examines a different aspect of a farm as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all three systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.
Lee Farms is verified farm in the Farming, Cropping and Livestock Systems for implementing appropriate pollution prevention practices. For more information, visit the MAEAP Web site at www.maeap.org.