MAEAP cost sharing available

September 6, 2023

Larsen Farms of Victory Township received multiple verifications in 2016.

MAEAP cost sharing available

SCOTTVILLE — Cost sharing is available for the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), a voluntary program for farmers and landowners who are implementing best management practices and want to become recognized as stewards of the land. The focus of the program is to protect Michigan’s groundwater and surface water from contaminants such as fertilizer, pesticides and manure by reducing environmental risk. The three-step process involves an educational event, a confidential on-farm risk assessment and eventually a verification visit by a third-party verifier from the state.

The cost-share program, facilitated by Mason-Lake Conservation District’s MAEAP technician, helps to address any upgrades needed, following the on-farm risk assessment, by providing technical advice to the landowner, recommendations on potential upgrades and the funding to complete those tasks. This helps farms along the process to ensure that they are in compliance with state regulations and using best management practices to protect the natural resources. Since the program is 100% confidential, any issues that the Technician notes while on the farm are discussed with the farmer and an action plan made on how to address those issues and how the District can help.

Examples of potential activities or conservation practices include:

  • Closing an abandoned well on the farm that could possibly contaminate the aquifer if left unused for large periods of time
  • Installing an impermeable surface for fuel transfer so that oil and gas spills are contained and not running through the soil
  • Soil sampling (basic or grid), which should be done every three years, can show the landowner what nutrients are available or lacking in the soil, so when fertilizer is applied, it is only the necessary nutrients in specific areas of the soil
  • Manure testing to determine nutrient content when spreading as fertilizer
  • Water testing for bacteria, nitrates or nitrites
  • Liners for chemical storage and containment
  • Drain plugs for shop floors, to avoid groundwater contamination
  • Double-walled tanks for secondary containment of fuel
  • Seed or other materials to control erosion

    Each practice is a steppingstone to becoming verified in the MAEAP program. The Mason-Lake Conservation District is asking anyone who is interested in looking at some of these activities to make contact by Friday, Sept. 15. If interested contact the Mason-Lake Conservation District MAEAP technician, Andrew Booher, at 231-757-3707 ext. 107 or emailing at: andrew.booher@macd.org for further assistance.

    MAEAP is beneficial for the landowner because it is voluntary, 100% confidential and can be taken at the landowner’s pace. The program allows certified pesticide applicators to receive credits towards renewing their credentials and it also serves as a great marketing tool if selling farm products. In some cases, insurance carriers offer a discount to verified farms because they have proven they are addressing any issues and are a low risk for a claim. Visit www.mason-lakeconservation.org for more information.

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