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MAEAP Agricultural Program

The MAEAP Agricultural Program is available locally through conservation district water stewardship technicians. In FY16, 55 positions are funded - providing 36 water stewardship technicians, 5 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) MAEAP technicians, and 14 Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative (CTAI) technicians. Water stewardship practices are in conformance with the Right to Farm Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs) and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) standards and address state and federal environmental regulations. The primary means for identifying on-farm environmental risks are with the assessment tools - Livestock*A*Syst, Farm*A*Syst, and various production specific Crop*A*Syst, including a new Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat*A*Syst. The A*Syst evaluation is conducted by conservation district water stewardship technicians who work one-on-one with farmers to identify environmental risks, create a plan to eliminate the risks, identify potential funding sources to address the identified risks, and provide the technical assistance needed to implement the plan.

Over the past 16 years, more than 17,900 Farm*A*Syst, over 3,200 Crop*A*Syst, and more than 1,300 Livestock*A*Syst evaluations have been completed, which reassure the public that producers are using environmentally sound practices and are helping to foster positive community and neighbor relations. When identified environmental risks have been eliminated, farmers are eligible for MAEAP verification in the Livestock, Farmstead, and Cropping Systems.

In addition, water stewardship technicians offer technical assistance to develop Farm Emergency Plans which provide farmers a plan to mitigate on-farm emergencies and provides emergency first-responders information on the location of on-farm hazardous materials. MAEAP Technicians also work with farmers to create emergency spill kits that provide a quick way to contain and clean up spills of pesticides and fertilizers.