2018-05-16 / News

MAEAP verifies three Lapeer County farms in March

NORTH BRANCH TWP. — The Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) has recognizing 74 farms, including three in Lapeer County, for implementing appropriate pollution prevention practices. The program assists farmers to comply with state and federal environmental regulations and with Right to Farm practices. Technical assistance was provided by local Conservation Districts.

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program recognized:

Dhooghe Farm (formerly Swoish Farms), of North Branch Township, as a verified farm in Farmstead and Livestock Systems

Penzien Farm, of Goodland Township, as a verified farm in Cropping and Farmstead Systems

Stony Croft Farms, of Mayfield Township, as a verified farm in Cropping and Farmstead Systems

“These 74 farms represent the agricultural community’s commitment to a sustainable environment,” said MDARD Director Gordon Wenk. “By taking the steps necessary to become MAEAP verified, farmers continue to be excellent stewards of their land. The success of the program demonstrates how the agricultural community comes together to protect our land and water quality.”

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 over 4,000 verifications to date.

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 onfarm 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. To remain a MAEAP verified farm, inspections must be conducted every five years and action steps must be followed.

In March of 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 122 and House Bill 4212, now Public Acts 1 and 2 of 2011, to codify the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program into law.

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 — livestock, farmstead, cropping, and forest, wetlands and habitat — examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all four systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.

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