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MDARD Honors Two MAEAP Conservation District Technicians for Their Commitment to Conservation in 2022

LANSING, Mich.— Implementing conservation practices is a foundational part of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and state’s conservation districts are key to helping farmers bring those practices to life. Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell honored two conservation district technicians for their work and commitment to conservation and environmental protections during the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Fall Convention held this week in Bellaire. MDARD recognized Samantha Wolfe with the Grand Traverse Conservation District and Justin Brown with the Mason-Lake Conservation District for their exemplary service to landowners, for going above and beyond the duties of a technician and achieving the most MAEAP verifications.

“Samantha and Justin’s commitment to assisting our farmers and forest owners in reducing nutrient loss from their land and implement conservation practices are fundamental to the legacy of good stewardship Michigan,” said McDowell. “The success of MAEAP is rooted in partnership. It’s through collaboration with state agencies, conservation districts, stakeholders, and of course our farming community, that we continue to implement positive change for long-term sustainable agriculture practices.”

MAEAP is aimed at helping producers protect the environment by reducing runoff into surface and groundwater. Local MAEAP conservation district technicians provide technical assistance to Michigan farmers by helping identify environmental risks on-farm, providing education to producers, developing conservation plans to implement practices, and assisting with access to state and federal cost-share programs.

Technical Assistance Award: Samantha Wolfe of the Grand Traverse Conservation District

Samantha has been the MAEAP Technician for Grand Traverse and Antrim counties for nearly two years. She works to build trust with producers allowing her to help implement conservation practices, develop conservation plans and works hard to understand environmental issues. Samantha is a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program’s Great Lakes Regional Network and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Biology through Miami University’s Global Field Program. She recently completed a trip to Surama, Guyana where she worked with indigenous people on conservation issues.

Samantha Wolfe

Verification Award: Justin Brown of the Mason-Lake Conservation District

Justin serves producers in Mason County and the west half of Lake and Manistee counties. He has been a technician for almost two years. Justin goes out of his way to partner with producers and stakeholders on farmer education. He shares his time between two Conservation District offices, and his willingness to be available, makes him an asset to his producers. Justin was born and raised in Manistee County and has been around farming his whole life. He is continuing his education by taking soil and crop production classes and working on his Conservation Planner certification.

Justin Brown

For more information about MAEAP, visit