LANSING – An achievement usually reserved for Michigan’s farmers and private forest owners, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US Dundee Engine Plant has earned verification in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. FCA US is the first automaker to receive this recognition, administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The 127-acre grassland surrounding the Dundee, Mich., facility was verified in the Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat System category, which focuses on ecological and forest sustainability practices. This is one of four categories that make up MAEAP.
“As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a perfect time and a perfect way to show what Michigan businesses are doing to be good stewards of the environment,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “MDARD is proud to have worked with the team at FCA US Dundee Engine on becoming MAEAP verified. Having recently celebrated MAEAP’s 5,000th verification, it’s very exciting to see the program extend beyond the farmstead or forest and into an entirely new area.”
“Dundee Engine Plant pursued MAEAP verification to demonstrate how our employees work every day to protect our local environment,” said Chris Templeton, environmental specialist at FCA US Dundee Engine Plant. “We do more than produce engines. We have walking paths, insect hotels, honeybee habitats, and support the native wildlife for employees to enjoy, and our neighbors to benefit from.”
“We were really excited to verify the FCA US Dundee Engine Plant,” said Joe Kelpinski, MAEAP program manager. “Hopefully, this verification will inspire other companies and organizations to get involved in our program.”
Dundee Engine worked with the local MAEAP technician to conduct a thorough on-farm risk assessment and develop and implement a land management plan addressing potential environmental risks to their grasslands.
Becoming MAEAP verified adds an extra credential for the FCA US plant, where employees are working to earn the plant a gold designation in World Class Manufacturing. WCM is a methodology that focuses on eliminating waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. It engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants.
“As we pursue the gold level for World Class Manufacturing, we want our community to know we are taking care of the environment,” said Tania Pratnicki Young, plant manager at FCA US Dundee Engine Plant. “It demonstrates our commitment to sustainability.”
In 2015, Dundee Engine became the first automotive facility in the U.S. to receive silver status in World Class Manufacturing.
For more information about MAEAP, visit www.maeap.org or contact MAEAP Program Manager Joe Kelpinski at 517-284-5608.
MAEAP is a collaborative effort of farmers, MDARD, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, universities, conservation districts, conservation and environmental groups and state and federal agencies. More than 100 local coordinators and technical service providers are available to assist farmers as they move through the MAEAP process toward verification. An average of 5,000 Michigan farmers attend educational programs annually, 10,000 Michigan farms have started the verification process, and more than 5,000 verifications have taken place to date.
MAEAP is a multi-year program allowing producers to meet personal objectives, while best managing both time and resources. The program encompasses four systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system—Cropping; Livestock; Farmstead; and Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat—examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in one of the four systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.
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