Larsen Farms becomes first in county to hold 3 system environmental certification.

June 17, 2016
From left: Dan Busby, MDA; Murray Stall, Mason-Lake Conservation District; Burke Larsen, Leta Larsen, Lindsay Larsen, Leah Larsen, Lisa Larsen; Seth Earl, NRCS district conservationist.

From left: Dan Busby, MDA; Murray Stall, Mason-Lake Conservation District; Burke Larsen, Leta Larsen, Lindsay Larsen, Leah Larsen, Lisa Larsen; Seth Earl, US Dept. of Agriculture district conservationist.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

VICTORY TOWNSHIP — Larsen Farms, located at 332 W. Sugar Grove Rd., has become the first three system Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) certified farm in Mason County. The designation means that the farm has gone through a rigorous process to be environmentally responsible.

Owner Burke Larsen said the program is voluntary and the right thing to do.

“As farmers we have a responsibility to do the right thing and ensure that the food we raise is the healthiest and safest it can be. Operating a MAEAP certified farm means that we have taken measures to be responsible land owners who will ensure that we are operating efficiently and safe.

Dan Busby of the Michigan Department of Agriculture said each MAEAP system requires extensive components such as grid sampling each acre on the farm. “One of the major components is nutrient management, which means the farm uses as little outside components as possible to raise its cows.” In other words, the farm feeds its herd food that is raised on the farm and then uses manure to fertilize the field crops with little food and fertilizer being brought onto the farm from the outside.

The MAEAP certification also protects the farm from law suits, Busby said.

“When a farm becomes MAEAP certified, it means that it is doing everything required to be environmentally sound, according to the state. This is an added protection from liability.”

“I’m just proud of what we have accomplished here,” Burke said. “What’s really important here is that we do the right thing.” 

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