The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is a voluntary, free and confidential program that provides educational, technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers and residents to identify and reduce surface and groundwater contamination risks. The program encourages individuals to take voluntary, proactive steps to protect Michigan’s water quality and, therefore, the quality of our drinking water. Pesticide registration and tonnage fees levied on the purchase of all nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides pay for this service — so in a way, you’re already paying for our assistance with every bag of nitrogen fertilizer and pesticide you buy. Agricultural producers who participate in the MAEAP program can become environmentally assured through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. Environmental assurance indicates a farm is in conformance with state and federal environmental laws and guidelines and is protecting Michigan’s important natural resources for use by future generations. Agricultural operations can be verified in any combination of three applicable systems: Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock. MAEAP verification is available for all types and sizes of farms and all commodities – including for nurseries, greenhouses, and fruit growers.
Through the Michigan Agriculture, Environmental Assurance Program, Branch, and St. Joseph county farmers and growers can prepare for MAEAP verification in Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock systems. Our Technical staff can assess the conditions at your farm, suggest corrective or improvement steps you can take to meet MAEAP requirements, demonstrate cost-effective solutions you can implement to reduce ground and surface water pollution and can even offer cost-share to help pay for some of these practices and improvements! We’ll help you right through the process, representing your best interests and making the verification process as easy and swift as possible.
Program Features Environmental Risk Assessments
The Farmstead Assessment System (Farm*A*Syst) looks at management practices, structures and site conditions at the farm headquarters and helps producers identify and reduce risks to both groundwater and surface water supplies. Completion of a Farm*A*Syst with a local technician is done on-farm at the convenience of the producer in a confidential and voluntary manner. Farmers can earn 2 – 4 RUP credits towards pesticide license recertification and can prepare for MAEAP Farmstead Verification in the process.
The Cropping Assessment System (Crop*A*Syst) helps producers develop and implement a management plan to prevent contamination of groundwater and surface water resources in production fields, orchards and nurseries. The process includes a voluntary, confidential review of management practices and records of pesticide, fertilizer, water use, and conservation practices. Like Farm*A*Syst, the Crop*A*Syst is also completed at the farm with the local MAEAP technician. Farmers can earn 2 – 4 RUP credits towards pesticide license recertification and can prepare for MAEAP Cropping System Verification in the process.
The Greenhouse Assessment System (Greenhouse*A*Syst) is a tool specifically designed for the way greenhouse operations work, comprised of both the Farm*A*Syst and Crop*A*Syst rolled into one streamlined process to address both the headquarters and growing facilities that are often housed together in a greenhouse setting. Completing the Greenhouse*A*Syst will simultaneously prepare growers for MAEAP verification in both the Farmstead System and Cropping System. As with the other tools, the Greenhouse*A*Syst can earn a grower 2 – 4 RUP credits towards their pesticide license recertification.
The Livestock Assessment System (Livestock*A*Syst) helps livestock operators develop and implement a management plan to prevent contamination of groundwater and surface water resources from manure, mortality disposal, silage leachate, and other risks unique to livestock operations. The Livestock*A*Syst also reviews odor management practices, Siting for new or expanding livestock buildings, and emergency farm planning. The assessment is voluntary and confidential, and the developed management plan can be completed at the operator’s own pace.
Other Services Offered By MAEAP
Abandoned wells pose a health risk by acting as a conduit for contaminated surface water to move directly down to drinking water aquifers. Environmental risk assessments and financial assistance from the MAEAP Program have resulted in the closure of more than 7,000 unused/unusable wells.
More than 2,700 emergency farm plans have been developed for agricultural producers across the state. These plans provide vital information for farm workers and emergency service providers if an emergency occurs. The plans also assist producers with the important issue of agrichemical and application equipment security.
This well water screening is open to all well owners and is designed to evaluate potential nitrate and nitrite contamination in the well owners drinking water supply. Samples are screened annually at no charge to the well owners. Please call the Branch Conservation District at 1-517-278-2725 to find out when the next well water screening opportunity will take place.
Environmental Risk Assessments through the MAEAP Program are voluntary and confidential. For more information about MAEAP, please contact Michael Censke, MAEAP Technician for Branch and St. Joseph Conservation Districts at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-278-2725 ext. 5.
Click here to visit MAEAP’s Facebook.