Conservation districts to host workshop Feb. 13.

February 6, 2019

Conservation districts to host workshop Feb. 13.

AMBER TOWNSHIP — An educational workshop is being held for farmers, forestland owners, backyard beekeepers and anyone interested in improving wildlife habitat.  This is a half-day seminar, with guest speakers presenting on special topics including on-farm energy optimization, pollinator habitat initiatives, cover crops, forest pests, cost-share opportunities for these projects, as well as some interactive exhibits. The public is welcome to attend for the entire day or for the particular session in which they are interested. The event will be held Wednesday, February 13, 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Mason County Reformed Church multi-purpose room, 45 S. Amber Rd.

Over a dozen speakers from as many organizations will be present to share updates on programs and new techniques for conservation work. The morning sessions will be focused on agricultural topics, with the afternoon sessions being more focused on forest and wildlife habitats. Specific topics for the morning include cost-share funding for agricultural best management practices, updates to state the water-use reporting system for irrigation and an interactive module on cover crop plants and their beneficial properties. A panel of farmers from the surrounding area will also share their experiences in becoming environmentally verified through the Michigan Agriculture and Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). Before lunch, presentations will wrap up with case studies on pesticide and drift management and techniques for produce safety and equipment sanitation.

Consumers Energy will provide an interactive presentation after lunch regarding energy optimization techniques and incentives. The remainder of the afternoon program will cover the Michigan Pollinator Initiative, federal cost-assistance programs for pollinators, an overview of forest pests and management techniques for our area, and cost-assistance programs for invasive plant removal. The program will conclude with a demonstration on proper personal safety equipment when using pesticides. For a more detailed agenda, see www.mason-lakeconservation.or

This workshop is hosted by the Mason-Lake, Manistee and Oceana conservation districts through the MAEAP program. The Michigan Agriculture and Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is a voluntary, confidential program that works with landowners and farmers to help ensure they are following all the best management practices to be good environmental stewards of their land. MAEAP participants can choose to assess any or all of their cropping, livestock, farmstead or forestry systems. As part of the program, participants must attend an education program related to MAEAP. This program qualifies for that education credit. In addition, those that attend the full day will be eligible for 4 credits for restricted use pesticide (RUP) certification and 3.5 Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits. Call 231-757-3707 ext. 5 by Monday, February 11th to reserve your seat and lunch. The workshop is free to attend, but a $5 donation is suggested to cover lunch.

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