Gov. Rick Snyder recognizes 2,500 MAEAP farm verification milestone

Environmental mitigation program half way to goal of 5,000

Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) celebrated its 2,500th verification, a significant milestone on the path to achieving the goal of 5,000 verifications.

“MAEAP is so important to Michigan that the first bill I signed as governor put the program into law,” Snyder said. “MAEAP has a great record of successfully encouraging farms to participate in environmentally sustainable practices. It is proof positive that great things can be accomplished when government, industry and stakeholders work together toward common goals.”

State agriculture officials attended a celebration of the milestone at Darling Farms in the Monroe County community of Willis. Darling Farms is MAEAP-verified in two of the three systems – Cropping and Farmstead.

“MAEAP is a voluntary program developed by the farming and agriculture community to balance efficient production and implement sound environmental practices to protect our prized natural resources,” said Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “MAEAP has become a national model for addressing environmental challenges while providing opportunities for agriculture-based businesses to expand.”

“Michigan farmers who earn MAEAP verification are leaders in environmental stewardship,” said Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant. “This program is about making sure farmers take extra steps to protect our land and water resources. We congratulate the farmers who have stepped up to take this challenge. We are proud of what MAEAP has accomplished in improving Michigan’s environment, and we look forward to celebrating the next 2,500 agricultural leaders who choose to commit to environmental stewardship.”

Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation. As a result, a one-size-fits-all approach to environmental protection simply does not work on Michigan farms. MAEAP effectively overcomes this challenge by offering areas of concentration known as systems.

Each system focuses on a different aspect of a farming operation. Farmers can become verified in all systems applicable to their farm. The systems are:

Farmstead – The MAEAP Farmstead System addresses environmental risks at the farmstead, from safe fuel handling to the proper storage of fertilizers and pesticides. It focuses on protecting surface and groundwater. It is the one MAEAP system which is applicable to every size and kind of operation.

Cropping – The MAEAP Cropping System primarily focuses on environmental issues related to cropping activities, such as irrigation and water use, chemigation, soil conservation, nutrient and pest management, and well head protection. The system has components focused on environmental issues related to managing diverse commodities.

Livestock – The MAEAP Livestock System primarily focuses on environmental issues related to livestock activities, including manure handling, storage and field application, as well as conservation practices to protect water and prevent soil erosion. The Livestock System targets all Michigan livestock farms, regardless of species or operational size. The Livestock System concentrates on production and conservation practices, equipment, structures and management activities.

MAEAP has an impressive record of success. Nearly 10,000 farms are at some stage within the verification process. Manure management and conservation plans are in place for more than 500,000 acres; field conservation practices assure almost 350,000 tons of soil stay on fields; phosphorus delivery to lakes and streams are reduced by 600,000 pounds each year; 730,000 acres receiving pesticides have approved pesticide management plans; 13,000 acres of filter strips have been installed; and 2,300 gullies have been stabilized improving water quality over the last three years.

For more information on MAEAP, visit www.michigan.gov/maeap

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